Overwhelming support for strike in Chile: LAN Airlines faces conflicts, delays and cancelations in South America

LAN Airlines workers voted for a strike: 98% of the votes of LAN Express technicians and passenger services staff in Chile supported the strike.

  • In Argentina, transport workers organised a national strike forcing LAN to cancel and delay several flights.
  • In Ecuador demonstrations continue on behalf of the fired union leader Jimena López, with support being provided in other countries where the company operates.
  • In Colombia there are protests against LAN for their deteriorating labor conditions.
  • In Miami (USA), transport workers and community allies are warning LAN passengers about possible delays and cancellations.

 
During the upcoming days, various airports in Latin America will be confronting possible delays and cancellations due to labour conflicts concentrated in Argentina, Chile, Colombia and Ecuador where the workers are demanding the reinstatement of their illegally fired union leader.
 
These are important connection points for flights throughout Latin America and the industrial conflicts have already affected and may continue affecting flights where LAN and TAM Airlines (owned by the LATAM Airlines Group) fly in the upcoming days.
 
In Chile, the company is far from any dialogue with their workers that will avoid a strike and the conflict is likely to affect passengers.  The company has refused all of the proposals brought forward by the Chilean union Sindilanex (Unon of LAN Express Workers) and has threatened to cut benefits.  The ground workers, maintenance and passenger service voted 98% in favor of striking.  The vote has taken place at the headquarters of the Chilean national federation of unions (CUT-Chile).
 
In Argentina: last Tuesday there was a national strike organised by various transport unions.  LATAM Airlines was forced to paralyze all domestic and regional operation from and to Argentina. Thousands of passengers suffered delays, rerouting and cancellations. The unions announced that these protests will continue.
 
In Ecuador, demonstrations and protests have not stopped since the October 2014 firing of the founder and general secretary of the first aviation union in the country, Jimena López.
 
In Colombia the company is firing mechanics and cargo workers with the most experience.  The union is fighting back.  Passengers in Colombia are being advised about possible flight delays.
 
In Miami (USA), transport unions and community supporters are notifying people attending the Sony Miami Tennis Championships, sponsored by LAN Airlines, of upcoming possible delays and cancellations.
 
In the face of these demonstrations in Chile, Colombia and Ecuador, LAN and TAM Airlines have not sent communications suspending their operations.  
 
The ITF Civil Aviation Secretary, Gabriel Mocho Rodriguez has sent letters to all Tourism Ministers of the Governments in the region (among others) in order to warn them about the possible disruptions that could seriously affect air passengers visiting their countries. He wrote: “We are concerned that tourism in the country could be affected from the Easter holidays until the Copa America football tournament. LAN and TAM Airlines are official sponsors of the Copa America.”
 
For more information:
 
Luis Chávez Garrido, Presidente Sindicato de Trabajadores LAN Express /Federación Trabajadores LAN. Tel. +56 9 68320444.  www.sindilanex.cl / el Facebook / @LanNego
 
Gabriel Mocho Rodriguez, ITF Civil Aviation Section Secretary: aviation@itf.org.uk

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