WestJet Cuts Nearly 50% Of Staff

Filed Under: WestJet

Well, the hits just keep coming for Canadian airline employees. Hot on the heels of Air Canada’s massive flight attendant layoffs, WestJet announced today that 6,900 workers will be leaving its employ, just shy of half the airline’s 14,000 employees.

The airline says 90% of these departures are “voluntary”, including early retirements, voluntary resignations, and voluntary unpaid leaves of absence that come after employees were canvassed on these options last week.

For their part, WestJet’s executive team has taken a 50% pay cut, while other high-level management employees are taking a 25% cut.

This is only the latest cost-cutting measure to respond to the COVID-19 crisis, which has grounded over 2/3 of WestJet’s fleet. The airline had previously released about 80% of its contractors, frozen hiring, and paused capital projects. It continues to negotiate with vendors to delay payments.

Regardless of their “voluntary” nature, the layoffs are another blow to Calgary, WestJet’s home base. The city was already reeling from rock-bottom oil prices when the coronavirus crisis hit, and things are looking pretty grim around here for the near future.

I certainly hope that WestJet is able to ride out the storm and that the employees who have taken one for the team here are welcomed back to friendly skies soon.

  1. Pretty brutal. Not surprising with the capitalist pigs that have owned it since Dec. Alberta loves capitalism. Enjoy Alberta!!!

  2. I visit my sister and mom who live in Calgary twice a year but I live in CA now. The oil and gas industry already tanked since 2014. It just built a new gigantic airport wing for US bound flights that seems deserted in winter months. I don’t know how busy the YYC is in summer months. The previous provincial governments have racked up billions of $$$ in debt for over a decade now. The newly elected government has implemented sweeping layoffs this year. I have no sympathy for WestJet and Air Canada when they gouge the flying public because there is no competition. I try to support them but refuse to pay exorbitant air fares. The public voted for Trudeau more for his youthful handsome look but ignored his lack of effective leadership and acute knowledge to govern. But don’t feel bad. We have neither in US President and Senate to contain and resolve global and national crises.

  3. And this is why all of you idiots shouldn’t be cheering on the dismantling of society!

    Do you really want us all to regress back 20-30 years, economically speaking? For your neighbor not to have a job?

    Why can’t we take reasonable measures that still give people a fighting chance to survive?

    The cure has long surpassed the illness in severity and damage, and all you morons are clapping along and demanding MORE destruction.

    We’ll not see the end of this in our lifetimes…

  4. 6,900 workers laid off at WestJet out of 14,000 employees. However, 90% of the laid off workers will be leaving voluntarily.
    Reality. There were 4 choices to be submitted within 36 hours.
    Many wanted to stay on as benefits period was so short.
    Others who vowed to stay, were told those hired pre 2015 were fine. Reality is they went down to 2009! Many now lost inter line benefits and no choice but unemployment. Kind of like AC kissing quebec butt, WS kisses Calgary butt. Skelton crew. Bait and switch. Respect the seniority and benefits! All those years of hard work and following strict rules and thrown to the side of the road. Don’t get it.

  5. I dont understand why corporates think laying off lower paid employees while top management continues to get paid enoromous amount for basically letting others go, is the correct action. I mean, wont it be prudent and humane for the top 1% earners to take a bigger pay cut so that these lower paid staff can still remain employed?

  6. I don’t think taking a voluntary paid leave of absence is the same as a “cut”. The way the article is titled, 50% of the staff won’t be returning / are not in service anymore but I suspect a lot are still with WestJet, just taking temporary unpaid LOA and will return once the industry returns to normal too.

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