WestJet Swoop still headed for June takeoff despite issues with pilot union

CALGARY — WestJet Airlines says it’s still on course to launch its new Swoop ultra-low-cost carrier despite unresolved bargaining issues with the Air Line Pilots Association, as the two sides negotiate a first contract.The Canada Industrial Relations Board recently ordered WestJet to withdraw a new policy of offering its pilots a two-year leave of absence if they go to fly for Swoop.The ALPA complained that the policy, posted by WestJet on Jan. 31, was a significant change in the company’s terms of employment and an interference with the union’s right to represent the pilots.A CIRB ruling dated March 2 and announced on Tuesday agreed that the policy could pose “substantial irreparable harm to the union” and noted that the alleged violation came during “the sensitive period of collective bargaining.”It also said its order revoking the leave policy would remain in place until either a related complaint of unfair labour practices was dealt with by the board, or a collective agreement is reached.A WestJet representative decline to be interviewed on the CIRB’s decision but said in an email that the launch of Swoop is on track for its first flight in June.“WestJet remains committed to engaging in constructive dialogue with ALPA and we are optimistic we will come to a fair and reasonable agreement,” the company said Wednesday.The ALPA represents about 1,500 pilots at WestJet’s main service and 500 at its WestJet Encore regional service.WestJet is aiming to launch Swoop with three aircraft in June and grow to six by September.By the spring of next year, Swoop would have 10 planes and eventually reach 30 to 40 aircraft on domestic and international flights.Companies in this story: (TSX:WJA) read more

Former PC MLA warns against forced economic diversification in Alberta

AddThis Sharing ButtonsShare to TwitterTwitterShare to FacebookFacebookShare to RedditRedditShare to 電子郵件Email Many Albertans want to see the province get away from our dependence on the resource of oil, and diversify because of the drop in oil prices.However, a former PC MLA, who was finance minister for a year under Ed Stalmach, says it’s something we’ve seen in the past with disastrous results and warns the government can’t force diversification.According to a new paper from Ted Morton, a senior fellow at the School of Public Policy, the government needs to create the conditions for businesses to create jobs, and not try and do it themselves.He says that from 1973 to 1993 the province lost $2-billion while trying to spur diversification.“It just shows how difficult it is for government to try to come in and change, if you like, the market realities of any region. Governments aren’t good at picking winners and losers, they’re good at picking governments,” explained Morton.Morton argues it’s difficult for government to change structural limitations, and that it needs to build on competitive advantages in labour and resources instead.He says the Prentice government needs to take a shotgun approach to the economy, investing in infrastructure, investing in worker training and keeping taxes competitive, and let the market decide winners and losers. Former PC MLA warns against forced economic diversification in Alberta by News Staff Posted Mar 20, 2015 7:10 am MDT read more