Their travel plans were canceled because WestJet pilots would not take $300,000 with them

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Your travel plans could be in turmoil this weekend as WestJet pilots think earning more than $300,000 a year is tantamount to living in poverty. The pilots’ union has filed a strike notice for Friday morning; The company responded with a notice banning pilots.

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You end up getting burned trying to visit your Aunt Mildred in Victoria or the cousins ​​in Fredericton over the Victoria Day long weekend.

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It’s not that we haven’t had enough trouble with travel in recent years.

Of course there were also the travel restrictions due to COVID-19, last summer there were endless delays in take-offs and landings followed by never-ending problems with luggage. Now we have to deal with a strike by the country’s second largest airline.

According to a company memo to flight crews, it did reported by Canadian PressAccording to the company’s new contract offering, captains of the company’s 737 fleet would make a maximum of $300,000 by the end of the contract, while those flying the 767 and 787 would make a maximum of $350,000.

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The union responded to the leak of that memo by saying the company had done so “picked from cherries” the high salaries and the claim to Global News that many pilots can’t make ends meet. Provided that the full contract for the pilots is in place published on the website of the Federal Ministry of Labourwe can all judge that for ourselves.

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A first mate helping the captain navigate starts at $64.92 an hour, rising to $156.09 after ten years. Captains start at $158.45 per hour and increase to $258.30 per hour after 11 years. If they’re flying the larger planes, the top price for the 737 after 11 years is $222.51 an hour.

Assuming pilots work about 960 hours a year, that means annual salaries range from a starting salary of $62,000 for a brand new first officer to $248,000 after 11 years. And all without overtime or shift premiums, which can drive up wages.

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According to industry sources, the average WestJet pilot makes $225,000 a year while working 16 days a month. That’s hardly poverty wages, that’s barely a livelihood for the vast majority of Canadians for whom air travel is an expensive luxury.

Look, we should all want our pilots to be well-rested and well-paid so they’re alert and can get us on the ball safely, but claiming you’re tough and having trouble making ends meet on wages like that to come is incredible .

The contract also provides for a general benefit package, the assumption of all hotel and travel expenses in connection with the jobs, a generous meal allowance for business trips and a profit-sharing program. Part of the problem for WestJet is that the company hasn’t turned a profit since 2019, just before the pandemic hit.

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Like any company in the travel or hospitality industry, WestJet is struggling with the pandemic and is now facing a strike that is putting the whole thing in jeopardy. Not a brilliant move by the pilots, who worried for months whether their employer would survive.

The company claims to have made the pilots a reasonable and generous offer; The union says the company just isn’t offering enough. Meanwhile, the average Canadian, making just under $70,000 a year and working well over 960 hours a year, is stranded at the airport hoping to find his luggage.

Don’t expect much support for the pilots if this strike actually happens.


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