Westjet cuts workforce in half

27 Mars, 2020, 05:06 | Auteur: Auguste Feret
  • A West Jet airlines plane at the Ottawa airport Wednesday

WestJet had some 14,000 employees before the announcement.

Canada's second biggest airline, WestJet, said Tuesday nearly half its employees are leaving the company amid the pandemic as it seeks to survive until things stabilize.

"This is devastating news for all WestJetters".

Canada's second largest airline WestJet on Tuesday announced to lay off 6,900 employees due to the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic.

"The fact that we avoided a potentially worse outcome is testament to the spirit and selfless attitude demonstrated by our people, who have enabled WestJet to continue operating with a collective remaining workforce of 7,100", Sims said in a blog post on Tuesday.

WestJet is the latest major company to announce layoffs due to COVID-19.

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"It is through these WestJetters' sacrifices that we can preserve a core of people who will remain employed to prepare for the moment when the situation stabilizes, and we can look to rise again", Sims stated.

WestJet, along with other airlines, have cut the number of global flights in recent days, operating mostly repatriation and domestic flights for Canadians.

The executive team of the Calgary-based airline has taken a 50 percent pay cut, while the vice-presidents and directors have had their pay cut by 25 percent.

WestJet said it has also been working closely with its unions and employee associations who have collaborated to help achieve the necessary levels of voluntary leaves and salary cuts.

"We could not have achieved what was required without the support and collaboration of our union leadership and the leaders of our employee associations", said Sims.

WestJet said 6,900 employees are leaving, with 90 percent leaving voluntarily.

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