Calgary-based WestJet says an extra 3,000 of its employees shall be laid off in early Could as demand for flights craters amidst the COVID-19 pandemic.
Ed Sims, the corporate’s president and CEO, stated the airline is at present seeing lower than 5 per cent the variety of passengers it was seeing earlier than the coronavirus pandemic hit.
“The fact of this disaster continues to require WestJet to make mission-critical choices to make sure the sustainability of our airline,” Sims stated in a launch.
“These choices, whereas tough, are being thoughtfully and methodically made in order that we will climate this disaster and be prepared for a future the place we will present inactive WestJetters with fulfilling employment as soon as once more.”
Sims went on to say that WestJet would use the federal authorities’s wage subsidy to retain employees on its payroll to make sure they continue to be “linked to the corporate.” The airline rehired practically 6,400 employees with the assistance of the federal authorities’s wage subsidy earlier this month.
“We proceed to work with our worker and labour teams on methods to keep up employment by means of the disaster,” Sims stated.
Chris Rauenbusch, president of CUPE 4070 — which represents cabin crews at WestJet and Swoop — stated the union was conscious the strikes have been on the best way and had been working with the corporate to find out subsequent steps.
“So by being inactive, a flight attendant stays on payroll as much as 75 per cent of their wage, paid for by means of the corporate however finally paid for by the federal authorities by means of the [wage subsidy],” Rauenbusch stated.
“They are going to be recalled from layoffs in accordance with seniority when the time comes.”
WestJet has additionally suspended transborder and worldwide flights till June Four and has modified its home schedule from Could 5 to June 4, slicing 600 flights together with some routes between Canadian cities.
On Tuesday, Air Canada stated service to the US could be suspended for an additional 30 days due to the pandemic. Air Canada has cancelled most worldwide flights till June. Air Transat and Sunwing Airways have additionally cancelled all journeys till no less than Could 31.
The choices prolonged the suspension of greater than 160 Air Canada routes and Air Transat and Sunwing journeys by one other month.
WestJet had about 14,000 staff earlier than the COVID-19 outbreak, shedding about half of the corporate’s workforce in late March. The airline despatched layoff notices to 1,700 pilots earlier this month.
WestJet and different airways supply two-year vouchers for journeys they’ve cancelled, however advocates have stated that travellers needs to be entitled to refunds for flight companies paid for however not obtained.