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WestJet warns furloughed workers of pay cut as CERB ends

Citynews 1130 Vancouver
FILE - A WestJet plane takes off from Vancouver International Airport in Vancouver on Monday, May 13, 2019. (THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward)
Summary

WestJet Airlines is warning furloughed workers who receive the federal wage subsidy they will see their pay cut

The maximum weekly payment for more than 3,000 employees on furlough will drop to $400

Flight attendants called on the feds to clarify when, how much money will arrive in company coffers via the subsidy

CALGARY – WestJet Airlines is warning furloughed workers who receive the federal wage subsidy they will see their pay cut by up to 53 per cent starting Sunday.

The maximum weekly payment for more than 3,000 employees on furlough — a mandatory leave of absence — who rely on the Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy (CEWS) will drop to $400, down from $847, according to a WestJet memo sent out Wednesday.

In his message, vice-president Mark Porter attributed the decision to changes by the federal government to the newly extended subsidy program.

READ ALSO: Laid-off WestJet employees have jobs contracted out, call severance a ‘sham’

“With the [Canada Emergency Response Benefit] program coming to a close at the end of September, the objective now is to ease the transition off of the CEWS program by aligning CEWS benefits with those offered specifically by an expanded EI program,” the memo reads.

“We understand that the significance and irregularity of changes to these programs has been incredibly difficult for WestJetters.”

Flight attendants called on the government to clarify when and how much money will arrive in company coffers via the federal subsidy in order determine whether wages can return to current levels.