A video created by now ex-employees at WestJet is circulating showing a number of employees turning in their WestJet gear at the airline’s head office.
The video, titled A WestJet Christmas Story, was released on Monday and shows more than a dozen people gathered outside the company’s headquarters in Calgary as the carol Silent Night plays in the background.
“They are but a few of the hundreds of WestJet employees who have been terminated, suspended, or forced into early retirement this Christmas,” the video reads while ex-employees leave their uniforms along with boxes and suitcases of other WestJet-related items.
On September 8, WestJet announced their COVID-19 vaccination policy requiring all WestJet employees be fully vaccinated, effective October 30.
“Protecting the health and safety of our guests and employees remains our number one priority and vaccinations are our best line of defence,” said Mark Porter, WestJet executive vice-president of People.
“Aviation has been one of the hardest-hit industries and we believe requiring all WestJet Group employees to be vaccinated is the right thing to do and ensures the safest travel and work environment for everyone in WestJet’s world.”
In the policy statement, the airline confirmed employees would not have the option for COVID-19 testing in place of vaccination and those who did not comply would face unpaid leave or termination.
As the ex-workers gather and embrace outside WestJet’s headquarters, the video states the only “workplace offence” of the employees is their “right to informed consent and bodily autonomy.”
“These terminations are without severance and the suspensions are without pay. Many were months away from a retirement package they will never obtain,” the video reads.
“Many have poured their hearts into the company for decades. Their love for the company and the people around it is what the company was built on.”
The video wraps up with the group of ex-employees walking away together and ends on a suitcase with a blue WestJet stocking attached with the message, “Merry Christmas from the former employees at WestJet airlines.”
The Western Standard reached out to WestJet for comment on the video but did not receive a reply in time for publishing.
More to come…
Melanie Risdon is a reporter for the Western Standard