The threat of a strike at WestJet is over for the time being. Engineers will resume talks with the Canadian airline


The union representing mechanics at Canadian airline WestJet said it withdrew an announcement to begin a strike on Thursday evening after the airline agreed to return to the bargaining table.

The strike threat had prompted WestJet, Canada’s second-largest airline, to cancel about 50 flights this week to avoid stranding travelers and planes.

“We hope that WestJet’s agreement to return to the table means we can get the contract our members want,” Bret Oestreich, national president of the Aircraft Mechanics Fraternal Association, said Thursday. He said the union’s strike vote will remain in effect until July. 9.

The union represents about 680 WestJet engineers, who voted overwhelmingly to reject the company’s latest contract offer.

AMFA gave WestJet 72 hours’ notice on Monday evening that it would strike, after the airline asked the Canadian government to intervene and order both parties to binding arbitration.

Canada’s industrial relations council met for several hours on Wednesday and refused to stop the union from striking, leading WestJet to say it would return to the bargaining table.

“By returning to the negotiating table, we are committed to finding a solution to avoid further disruption to our operations,” said Diederik Pen, the airline’s president.

However, that was after WestJet started canceling flights, affecting about 6,500 passengers. According to tracking service FlightAware, the airline canceled five flights on Tuesday, 24 on Wednesday and more than 20 additional flights on Thursday afternoon.

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