March 30, 2018 / 11:34 AM / 2 years ago

Union for LATAM subsidiary says to strike as early as April 3

SANTIAGO (Reuters) - A union of cabin workers for LAN Express, a subsidiary of LATAM Airlines (LTM.SN), said it failed to reach agreement on a labor contract and voted to strike as early as Tuesday.

The union, which includes nearly 1,000 of the airline´s crew workers, said in a statement late on Thursday that a strike would paralyze local and regional flights throughout LATAM´s service region.

A walk-off could be delayed until April 9, the union said, should either side request a five-day period of government-facilitated mediation.

LATAM Airlines said in a statement on Friday that it was continuing to negotiate with the union and “remained committed to reaching a satisfactory agreement for both parties.”

The airline said operations would remain normal through the Easter Week holiday.

“In the event that a strike takes place - which would not happen before April 9 - the company will take the necessary measures to mitigate the impacts on our passengers,” the statement said.

In the event of a strike, the majority of flights affected would be flights within Chile, with minimal impact on regional flights and no effect at all on other international travel, the airline said.

The motion to strike follows several months of negotiations and was approved by 95 percent of the union´s workers, the statement said.

The union said it had failed to reach agreement with management on issues that include rotation lengths and salaries for newly hired workers.

LATAM was formed in 2012 through a tie-up between Chile’s LAN and Brazil’s TAM. In December 2016, Qatar Airways acquired 10 percent of the company in a transaction worth $608 million.

LATAM operates in Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Ecuador, Paraguay and Peru.

Reporting by Antonio De la Jara; Writing by Dave Sherwood; Editing by Bill Trott and Steve Orlofsky

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