A recent report obtained by CTV News reveals WestJet pilots are concerned over heavy schedules which leave them exhausted and fatigued, even on the job.
“We’re stretching out crews to the edge of safety,” former pilot Rob Scratch Mitchell told the news channel.
“There have been a few times I’ve woken up and I’ve seen the other pilot nodding off as well,” he admitted. “That’s probably something people aren’t comfortable to hear.”
According to the news channel, the report sums up the results of focus groups commissioned by the airline late last year – nine different pilot groups and 94 participants across Toronto, Calgary and Vancouver were involved in the process.
“Participants were passionate and overwhelmingly negative with regards to increasingly difficult schedules and related fatigue issues,” it reads.
“Many pilots believe that the increased focus on delivering value to the shareholder has been made at a significant cost to morale, culture, and trust.”
WestJet spokesperson Lauren Stewart told HRM that the report contained “unedited, anonymous comments from pilot focus groups that were conducted late last year.”
She also suggested that the report indicated a positive company culture, rather than discrediting it.
“We are proud that the focus group results were openly shared with all pilots on an internal company forum,” she said. “The fact that WestJet shared these unedited and anonymous results with all pilots illustrates our open culture and focus on improving the employment experience for everyone.”
While Stewart assured HRM that several changes had been implemented since the research was carried out, she declined to elaborate on any specific initiatives.
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Employee burnout can pose serious problems in any workplace but it seems one major employer might be underestimating the damage it can cause – both to individuals and the entire organization.