westjet layoffs

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."

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.

Fellow Canadian aviation companies Air Canada, Bombardier and Air Transat have also recently announced layoffs due to COVID-19.

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