LATAM airlines domestic pilots are threatening with industrial action unless their pre-pandemic contract conditions are re-established. The fifty air professionals this week announced an non-yielding position since as happened with other Latam unions and officials, they are intent in recovering pre-pandemic benefits.
They also recalled that during the pandemic period domestic pilots suffered income cuts, elimination of benefits and their number was drastically cut.
When the pandemic was over, or rather things were considered to be back to normal, there was a non written understanding that previous conditions would be recovered, but so far none of that has happened.
As no agreement was reached with the company, Chilean law establishes a period of mandatory negotiations or dialogue which will extend from next Monday until December 30. The following day workers are entitled to consider a strike if no agreement has been reached.
If this happens Magallanes businesses and tourism chamber fear that a suspension of Latam flights will have a great impact on overall travel and fare prices. Sky already flies to Punta Arenas and at the end of this month JetSmart is expected to resume operations, but is considered insufficient.
The Latam Domestic pilots union, Siplach, president Maximiliano Alcayaga argued the demand is entirely fair, we just want to recover conditions we enjoyed in 2020, before the pandemic situation. We paid to a great extent the economies imposed by the airline, from 197 pilots, we went down to 106, and finally 50, plus the fact our incomes were reduced by 30%. So far the company has turned its back on us, so unless we reach an agreement on our terms, 31 December the strike takes off, yes on the peak of the high holidays and tourism season.
The pilots representative added there are no excuses to impede the restitution of lost income and working conditions because since last October, domestic flights traffic has been greater than the pre-pandemic period, and since this year Latam has held three collective negotiation rounds with other unions and agreements were reached. The last was with the international pilots, stoppage was a few hours, but finally conditions were recognized.