WestJet has warned thousands of its employees that their wages are being cut by more than half because of the federal government’s shift of COVID-19 measures to the Employment Insurance system. WestJet employees on the Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy will see their weekly payments drop from $847 to $400. Flight attendants will be hardest hit. About two-thirds of the 4,000 cabin crew are on those benefits. Air Canada and other carriers are also hanging on to employees with help from the government benefits.
It’s possible at least some of the money will be restored as the government sorts out the details of the transition to EI but in the meantime union rep Chris Rauenbusch said members are calling him in tears because they won’t be able to make ends meet at $400 a week. The company is waiting for the feds to specify how much WestJet will receive under the new scheme and until it does provide that guidance the $400 weekly payment will apply.