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Wednesday, November 30, 2022

A day after leaving Chapter 11, LATAM pilots approve their first strike in 17 years – Nation World News

Tomorrow will be a historic day for LATAM Airlines. After more than two years, the company will finally emerge from the so-called Chapter 11 of the United States bankruptcy law, an instance it filed in May 2020, due to the weak financial situation resulting from the COVID-19 pandemic. It will now be a strong company financially. With US$2.2 billion of liquidity and a debt reduction of about 35% over its past liabilities… the economic strength, however, has some shadow.

That is, another important event is taking place in Chile, 8,200 kilometers from New York. After 11:40 a.m., the company’s most important pilots’ union approved a strike for the first time in 17 years. This is SPL, a consortium that brings together 313 partners – the majority of long-haul flights – of the company’s nearly 500 pilots. 99% -306 workers- pause supported.

The company has three unions: Latam. The Intercompany Association of Pilots (SIEP)who was born in 2018 and brings together about 200 associates; siplach, which brings together 50 LATAM Express pilots; And this LATAM Pilots Union (SPL), Founded 34 years ago and represents more than 300 pilots, it seeks to negotiate under a regulated process under the threat of paralysis for the first time since 2005.

Previously there was an irregular negotiation process, which began in August, while the regulated process lasted between September 13 and today, when the results of the vote on the company’s proposal were known. In a nutshell, the union indicates, the pilots presented three different collective contract options, all of them aimed at fixing remuneration terms before the pandemic. However, none of them found resonance in the company’s negotiating committee, he alleged.

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From the union they indicate that pilots accepted a 30% pay cut in 2020, a situation that has not reversed despite industry reactivation and other LATAM positions once again reaching 100% of their original remuneration . In addition, some 240 pilots were released.

According to workers, US$30 million was saved in only 600 people for the company. The idea now proposed by pilots, and rejected by company executives, is to recover pre-crisis earnings, rather than do it with a more modern model, which includes realistic variables tied to productivity indicators.

He says the company offered to charge him 100% of his remuneration, but the required flight hours were difficult to achieve. In short, they show that the company’s final offer is identical to the 2019 collective agreement, without actual adjustments in the future, which would leave them with 30% less earnings at the end of the day, he says.

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“Amid the crisis, LATAM Airlines implemented an adjustment that included the dismissal of some 240 pilots – the equivalent of 28% of the payroll –, a 30% pay reduction and a move to a variable pay model. SPL President Mario Troncoso said What we are asking for now is an act of justice that is clear: to correct the conditions that preceded the adjustments implemented by the company and which hit us hard.

Within the consortium they believe that, with the projections made on the company’s rapid recovery of income and profit levels (as per the update of the business plan for the period 2023-2027), there are conditions for a return in hand.

Next year, the company has estimated EBITDA of US$ 2,003 million, similar to US$ 2,212 million in 2019. and by 2026, over US$3,000 million.

Now, after the sanction of the strike, comes the period known as Good Offices, under the wing of Directorate of Labor. Either party has 48 hours to request them. If so, this step lasts for five business days, which can be extended for another five additional calendar days. After that, the strike is definitely voted on. If approved, it starts from the next day.

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