The union representing WestJet and WestJet Encore pilots has filed an unfair labor practice complaint about Swoop’s pilot recruiting campaign, the new low-cost banner to take off in June.
The International Airline Pilots Association (ALPA) has reported to the Canada Industrial Relations Board to seek a cease and desist order.
She claims that WestJet Airlines violated the provisions of the Canada Labor Code by negotiating directly with the pilots rather than with the union for its jobs at Swoop, changing and thus ignoring well-established rules and policies. WestJet declined to comment on the complaint.
During a conference call on Tuesday, WestJet Chief Executive Officer Gregg Saretsky said he wanted to allow WestJet and WestJet Encore pilots to apply for promotions to work at the new carrier and that WestJet was negotiating with the union to establish a seniority list for all its pilots. This would allow them to move from one banner to another without seeing their salary decrease or losing seniority rights, he argued.
Swoop is scheduled to begin operations in June with a fleet of three aircraft. The size of the latter is expected to increase to six by September, then to 10 by the spring of 2019, eventually reaching 30 to 40 aircraft offering domestic and international flights.
The union says it has also asked the Federal Labor Minister to appoint a conciliator to help advance negotiations with WestJet to conclude the terms of a first collective agreement. WestJet pilots voted last year to be represented by ALPA.