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WestJet Encore pilots ratify deal, averting strike

A WestJet logo is seen in the domestic check-in area at Vancouver International Airport, in Richmond, B.C., Friday, May 19, 2023. Darryl Dyck/The Canadian Press

WestJet Encore pilots have given the green light to a deal with their employer, averting a strike at the regional airline.

The Air Line Pilots Association said its members have ratified a five-year contract that offers higher pay, more flexible schedules and “a better work-life balance.”

The union says about 79 per cent of the pilots who cast a ballot approved the collective agreement, with the vast majority of the carrier’s 350-plus pilots participating in the vote.

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Carin Kenny, who heads the union’s WestJet Encore contingent, said the deal establishes “a level of career progression” toward flying bigger planes at the carrier’s mainline operation — crucial to attracting new pilots and retaining those already on board.

Click to play video: 'Backlash after WestJet introduces new ‘no frills’ tickets'
Backlash after WestJet introduces new ‘no frills’ tickets

The contract goes into effect immediately, with retroactive pay to Jan. 1.

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The vote this week cemented a tentative agreement reached on May 30, steering clear of the turbulence wrought by 11th-hour deals of the sort reached last year between WestJet and mainline pilots as well as aviators at its now-shuttered Swoop subsidiary.

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