The Government of Bolivia and former workers of Bolivian Airport Services (Sabsa) Thursday reached an agreement whereby the laid-off labor force would join the newly-created Bolivian Air Navigation and Airports (Naabol), which will now handle the administration of the international airports of La Paz, Cochabamba and Santa Cruz.
With Thursday's actions, the Bolivian guaranteed air navigation services natiowide.
Sabsa's contract had expired Feb. 22 with no extension agreed upon, thus prompting a reaction from workers who were uncertain about their future.
In this important act, the Sabsa workers are giving the effort and support so that our Naabol entity can continue operating and in these three important airports, we are guaranteeing all operations, Public Works Minister Edgard Montaño said.
They have come to sign the contract and right now in Viru Viru in Santa Cruz, in Jorge Wilstermann in Cochabamba and here in El Alto they are signing their contracts, added Montaño.
The minister also explained 728 Sabsa technical staffers would join Naabol. But 109 workers who performed only administrative duties were not included in Thursday's agreement. We cannot have two managers, argued Montaño. With that understanding, all operational personnel will become part of Naabol, he said. As for the rest of the workers, the minister insisted social benefits would be granted. We are taking necessary actions, he explained.
Montaño announced the creation of Naabol Dec. 1 to replace the former Airport Administration and Auxiliary Services for Air Navigation (AASANA), which was experiencing financial problems and was behind in wage payments.
In 2013, the national government nationalized the shares of Albertis S.A. for US$ 23 million, way below the nearly US$ 85 million the Spanish company had demanded.
Montaño also explained the labor rights of the workers who have shifted to Naabol will be respected.
“I must take into account that from 1997 to 2012 Sabsa remained under a foreign administration, through Supreme Decree 24315 of the capitalizing government of Gonzalo Sánchez de Lozada. Since the nationalization in 2013, through Supreme Decree 1494, 99% of SABSA's shares were nationalized and decree 24315 was repealed; the company was transferred in favor of the Bolivian State paying a sum of 23 million dollars to Albertis,” Montaño recalled during a press conference.
The minister explained that starting March 1, all Sabsa assets are to be transferred to Naabol.