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Canada's WestJet Airlines resuming operations after union rescinds strike notice

Airplanes at Toronto Pearson airport

(Reuters) -Canadian carrier WestJet Airlines said on Thursday it is working to resume normal operations after the union representing its maintenance engineers rescinded its strike notice, with both parties agreeing to return to the bargaining table.

WestJet, which is backed by Onex Corp and competes with Air Canada, has been facing demands from employees for improved working conditions and higher salaries.

WestJet is now attempting to resume normal operations after the airline said on Wednesday that 40 flights would be cancelled over June 18-19, affecting 6,500 customers.

The parties had appeared before the Canadian Industrial Relations Board (CIRB) to discuss the dispute between the carrier and the Aircraft Mechanics Fraternal Association (AMFA) union.

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AMFA said on Thursday in a statement that the CIRB had declined WestJet’s application for an injunction that would have

prevented the workers from striking.

The CIRB has said it will require additional time and submissions from both parties before making a decision on the necessity of an arbitration, WestJet said.

The union, which was set to launch the strike at 9 p.m. ET on Thursday, has rescinded its notice, the company said.

"In returning to the bargaining table, we are committed to finding a resolution to avoid further disruption to our operations," WestJet President and Group Chief Operating Officer Diederik Pen said in a statement.

(Reporting by Rishabh Jaiswal in Bengaluru. Additional reporting by Allison Lampert in Montreal; Editing by Savio D'Souza, Sherry Jacob-Phillips and Marguerita Choy)