WestJet announces layoffs for almost 50 per cent of its workers
WestJet announced layoffs for almost 50 per cent of its staff on Tuesday due to COVID-19, just two days after unveiling a severely reduced flight schedule.
WestJet President Ed Sims called the decision to let go of 6,900 workers "devastating."
Sims said, "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."
Today, 6,900 WestJetters are receiving notices of both voluntary and involuntary leaves due to the impact of COVID-19. This is devastating news.— WestJet (@WestJet) March 24, 2020
We commend those who are standing down so that our airline can stand up.
Read more — https://t.co/avVxVDrzcV pic.twitter.com/DH8kaU2Ybz
WestJet said that 90 per cent of the layoffs were voluntary.
The Calgary-based airline asked employees to opt for one of several options, including unpaid leave of absence, early retirement, voluntary resignation, reduced work week or reduced pay.
WestJet has previously implemented a number of cost-cutting measures, including a hiring freeze and a 50 per cent pay cut across the entire executive team.
On Sunday, the airline announced that it would cut its domestic service in half due to declining business amidst the COVID-19 outbreak.
We remain committed to keeping critical economic lifelines open for the 38 communities we serve across our country. Our domestic flight schedule for March 23 through April 21, 2020 is now available here: https://t.co/uoCbcxFXxp pic.twitter.com/UgSdYgaKO0— WestJet (@WestJet) March 22, 2020
Fellow Canadian aviation companies Air Canada, Bombardier and Air Transat have also recently announced layoffs due to COVID-19.
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