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WestJet pilots will see their salaries rise by 24% over four years under the tentative deal between the company and the union.
Canadian Press obtained a copy of a summary of the tentative agreement, which, if ratified, will give pilots a 15.5% hourly pay raise this year retroactive to Jan. 1, along with a cumulative 8.5% hike to their hourly wage over the remainder of the contract, which stretches through 2026.
Bargaining went to the brink last week, with a deal coming just hours before a strike deadline. The carrier cancelled more than 230 flights in preparation for a strike.
Aviation consultant Rick Erickson told Canadian Press that the contract represents "a pretty substantive boost" for pilots, especially in the first year.
"You can bet that Air Canada's pilot union will be looking at this very, very closely," as well as other groups such as flight attendants, Erickson said.
The Air Canada Pilots Association is coming to the end of a 10-year collective agreement made in 2014. ALPA says workers must decide by May 29 whether to stick with that deal or opt to start full negotiations ahead of time this year. During the WestJet bargaining process, the Air Line Pilots Association also approved a merger with the Air Canada Pilots Association's 4,500 members, bringing the country's two biggest flight crew labour groups under one roof.
The ratification vote on the tentative agreement opens Tuesday and runs through June 9.
CP reports that the preliminary agreement also includes a 15% increase in per diems, more flexible scheduling and "extra legroom seats for all deadheads" - when employees fly as passengers to or from an assignment.
The WestJet deal came in the wake of a March agreement where Delta Air Lines pilots negotiated a 34% pay hike over four years. American Airlines pilots reached a preliminary deal last week after authorizing strike action, and United Airlines pilots are also in talks, pushing for even higher pay than their counterparts at Delta.
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