ITF backs Panama commercial pilots’ demands

Commercial pilots from ITF union UNPAC (Unión Panameña de Aviadores Comerciales) organised a picket line in front of the ministry of labour to demand government intervention to monitor fair and impartial collective bargaining with Copa Airlines.

They were supported by ITF unions SIPANAB (Panamanian Union of Auxiliary Shipmen) and SIELAS (National Union of Workers of the Civil Aviation and Similar Industry of the Republic of Panama).

UNPAC told the ITF that it has held meetings with the airline company for four months but has been unable to negotiate six clauses on improvements in working conditions, salary increases and working hours. The pilots want recognition of the time spent on the ground, in accordance with article 33 of the Panama labour code, which states: ‘The working day is all the time that the worker cannot use freely, in order to be available to the employer’. 

UMPAC secretary general Luis Young commented: "We call on the ministry of labour to demand a fair and impartial process with Copa Airline.

“Commercial pilots have suffered violations of our labour rights by the company. We will fight for Copa to recognize our work and our rights, as set out in Panama’s labour laws.”

Antonio Rodríguez Fritz, regional secretary of ITF Americas, added that the ITF recognises the important development of Panama as an international hub but the investment could not be used as a pretext by national or international companies only interested in profits to violate workers’ human and labour rights. He urged the government of Panama to demand that all companies respect the labour rights and security on which the lives of workers and passengers depend. The ITF, along with its unions, is fighting to prevent such workplace violations, he added.
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