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WestJet strikes deal with mechanics, avoiding Sask. flight disruptions


Saskatchewan travelers can breathe a sigh of relief — WestJet announced on Sunday it reached a tentative agreement with a newly-formed mechanics’ union just 48 hours before a threatened lockout.

According to a joint statement from the airline and the Aircraft Mechanics Fraternal Association (AMFA), the two groups managed to strike a deal on Sunday, which will now go to the union membership for a ratification vote.

The deal comes on the heels of a strike vote from the union that was set to wrap up Thursday.

The union, which represents around 670 aircraft maintenance engineers and skilled trade groups with the carrier, had cited wages, outsourcing, scheduling and layoff protection as standout issues during negotiations.

On Saturday WestJet issued a 72-hour lockout notice to the union to pre-empt the strike — the move would have brought service disruptions across the airline starting Tuesday.

The terms of the deal have not yet been released, but a spokesperson for the union says it represents months of bargaining.

“After nine months of tough negotiating, we are proud to have reached a tentative agreement that will now be presented, through the ratification process, to the hardworking aircraft maintenance engineers and other technical operations employees who go above and beyond to maintain a best-in-class culture of safety for the WestJet Group,” said AMFA regional director Will Abbott.

WestJet president Diederik Pen said he’s “grateful” to have struck a deal, averting a work stoppage and any impacts on customers.

“We sincerely appreciate our guests’ patience during this time and are pleased to move forward with an unwavering focus,” Pen said.

According to the company, WestJet currently has over 14,000 employees and 180 aircraft, offering flights to “more than 100 destinations in 26 countries.”

-With files from The Canadian Press Top Stories

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