ITF backs Mexican cabin crew workers

The ITF is backing its union ASSA (the Asociación Sindical de Sobrecargos de Aviación) in Mexico, which has announced strike action next week if Aeromar continues to refuse to negotiate the current collective bargaining agreement (CBA).

According to ASSA, Aeromar aims to increase working hours by 15 hours and reduce both rest periods and overtime pay. It estimates that the company wants to reduce 68 percent of the benefits included in the CBA.  

In past months, company executives have claimed they would lose a significant investment from Synergy Aerospace – the majority owner of Avianca Holdings and its airlines – if they don’t achieve these changes in conditions they are trying to impose.  

ASSA general secretary Ricardo del Valle told the ITF that the problem is that the company is forgetting air safety, adding that precarious labour benefits and too little rest is detrimental for both workers and passengers.  

Gabriel Mocho Rodriguez, ITF civil aviation section secretary, said: “Regional unions at Avianca are familiar with these practices. The company forces workers to give up their labour rights in the name of expansion and investment, which then simply translates into more profits for the group. Avianca Holdings, the airline's parent company, made a profit of USD44.1 million in 2016.

“That’s why the ITF’s network of Avianca unions is prepared to provide effective solidarity to ASSA.”  

Antonio Rodríguez Fritz, ITF Americas regional secretary, added that the ITF and its unions would support ASSA to fight against the economic interests that undermine workers' human and labour rights and, above all, the security of civil aviation.

ITF unions which have already declared support for ASSA include the Asociación Argentina de Aeronavegantes (AAA), Sindicato Panameño de Auxiliares de Abordo (SIPANAB) in Panama, the Federação Nacional dos Trabalhadores em Aviação Civil (FENTAC/CUT) in Brazil, Sindicato de Trabajadores de Aerolane (SITA) in Ecuador, and the Sindicato Nacional de Tripulantes de Cabina de la Empresa LATAM Airlines Group (STCLA) in Chile.

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