Unions In Ecuador, Colombia And Miami Are Coordinating Actions With A Potential Strike In Chile
A number of flights of South American LAN Airlines could be affected as the unions of LAN Airlines began a series of actions on Wednesday, March 25th in Chile, Colombia, Ecuador and Miami. The unions say that to date, the company has not responded to the its demands to improve working conditions. LAN Airlines workers are responsible for passenger safety, airplane maintenance, and customer connections in airports.
"National and international passengers could be subject to extensive delays and cancellations. Chile, Colombia and Ecuador are important hubs for the airline". So reads the leaflets to be distributed to passengers visiting airports "Arturo Merino Benitez" (Santiago, Chile) and "El Dorado" (Bogotá, Colombia). In Ecuador, the leaflets will be distributed at "Mariscal Sucre" in Quito, and "Olmedo" in Guayaquil.
The conflict of the workers of LAN Airlines has gained support from many of the large transport unions in the United States. Teamsters Local 769 of Miami, other transport unions, and the community organization South Florida Voices for Working Families will be joining others in handing out information at the 2015 Sony Open tennis tournament in Miami, Florida. LAN Airlines is an official sponsor of the event. Leaflets will alert the public about the unions' position concerning conditions of the LAN Airlines workers and the potential delays that could affect those attending the tennis tournament.
Chile, Colombia and Ecuador are important connecting hubs to flights throughout Latin America according to Luis Chavez, President of the LAN Express union in Chile. "These difficulties are preventable and predictable. The problems are cascading due to LAN Airlines refusal to provide fair conditions for their workers."
Workers will be asking passengers and cargo users throughout the region to call the company's toll free numbers to find out the latest information about the possible delays and cancellations. Passengers may also want to suggest that the company be responsible and provide fair conditions for workers at the airline.
The LAN Airline unions involved are members of the International Transport Workers' Federation (ITF) representing more than 4.5 million transport workers from 150 countries around the world. The company, the LATAM Airline Group, includes both Chilean LAN Airlines and Brazilian TAM Airlines and is the largest airline company in Latin America.
On Wednesday March 25th, a general assembly of the Union of LAN Express was held at the Santiago airport. Leaders of unions throughout Latin America and Chile attended the meeting. The General Assembly could affect the operations of all of the country's airports and international connections.
On Monday March 30th and Tuesday 31st the workers of LAN Express union will vote on whether to strike.
The Chilean workers are seeking both improvements in their own working conditions and also the reinstatement of the leader of the LAN Ecuador union, Jimena Lopez.
Since October 2014 demonstrations and protests have erupted throughout the region because LAN Ecuador unjustly dismissed the founder, flight attendant and general secretary of the first aviation union in Ecuador, Jimena Lopez.
LAN Ecuador refuses to reinstate her, even though Carlos Marx Carrasco, Minister of Labour and the President Rafael Correa government have called the company's actions unconstitutional and counter to Ecuadorian labour law and international labour standards.
In Colombia the union says the company is laying off experienced mechanics and cargo workers. The union is taking action. Passengers in Colombia will also be warned about potential delays in their flights.