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Unifor pushes for job guarantees in federal review of Westjet’s takeover of Sunwing

Unifor says the Canadian government should block the WestJet Group's takeover of Sunwing Airlines Inc. unless WestJet guarantees job creation and investments in workers. The union says it's concerned that the acquisition will lead to more sub-contracted work with lower wages and precarious conditions, despite WestJet's promise of job creation. Unifor made the comments as part of its submission to Transport Canada's Public Interest Review of the deal, which the WestJet Group announced in March.

The union says Competition Bureau investigations and Transport Canada reviews don't often factor in to how mergers affects jobs, but the union filing notes it's in the public interest and possible under the Competition Act to secure quality job opportunities. It says it's concerned by Westjet's reference in consultation documents to "crew optimization" and "improved efficiencies in operating costs," which it says could point to cutting jobs or contracting them out. In announcing the deal, WestJet said the acquisition will protect and create jobs, in part by shifting Sunwing's seasonal aircraft into year-round use.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published July 25, 2022.

The Canadian Press