Expert available to discuss potential WestJet pilot strike and its impact

WestJet Boeing 737-800 taxiing for departure onto runway 09, Victoria International Airport. (Wikimedia Commons)

WestJet pilots have officially issued a 72-hour strike notice, meaning Canadians could be facing travel disruptions just ahead of the long weekend.

Western University professor Geraint Harvey is an expert on labour relations in commercial aviation and is available to media for interviews.

He says there is no doubt COVID-19 had an impact on the airline industry, but the issues at the heart of the labour dispute predate the pandemic.

Geraint Harvey

“The emphasis on low fares in commercial aviation and the necessity for low costs have created problems in the industry that predate both the pandemic and the financial crisis and these problems were manifesting a decade ago,” says Harvey.

According to Harvey the impact of a strike would go beyond cancelled flights and travel disruption.

“Travellers may lose faith in an airline’s ability to transport them in the future and so strike action now also has an impact on demand going forward. A strike by pilots is especially bad news for an airline because pilots are essential and cannot be substituted.”

Harvey is Professor of HRM in the DAN Department of Management & Organizational Studies and is Dancap Private Equity Chair of Human Organization at Western. Harvey’s research focuses on employment relationships and the changing nature of work, specifically how it relates to aviation industries.

MEDIA CONTACT: Justin Zadorsky, Media Relations Officer, Western University, 226.377.1673 (mobile),