Westjet recently tweeted that it was laying off 6,900 employees. They were given notices of both voluntary and involuntary leave of absences.
Today, 6,900 WestJetters are receiving notices of both voluntary and involuntary leaves due to the impact of COVID-19. This is devastating news.
We commend those who are standing down so that our airline can stand up.
— WestJet (@WestJet) March 24, 2020
“This is devastating news for all WestJetters,” said CEO Ed Sims. “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.”
The executive team also took a 50 per cent pay cut, and vice-presidents and directors took a 25 per cent cut.
WestJet is now working with its unions and employee associations to work through the details 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. “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.”