Avianca Suspends Ticket Sales for Three Days as It Re-enters Labor Talks with Pilots Union in Hopes of Avoiding Strike
Avianca will temporarily suspend ticket sales for three days as it attempts to re-engage labor discussions with a pilots union that last week voted to halt negotiations and begin a strike. The Bogotá-based carrier, which has called the plan to strike illegal, halted sales for domestic flights on September 20, 21, and 22, which coincided with the first day that the union head said the strike could begin.
If the Colombian Association of Civil Aviators (ACDAC), the union that represents some 700 of the carrier’s 1,300 pilots in Colombia, goes on strike this week, Avianca says that its operations would be severely disrupted. ADCAC head Captain Jaime Hernandez told Reuters last week that the strike, which the union approved in a vote last Friday after breaking off talks, could begin any time between September 20 and 27.
Later in the day, Avianca also announced that its representatives will meet tomorrow in a “dialogue session” with representatives of ACDAC. After a morning meeting scheduled for 9 am between three members on each side of the dispute, there will also be an afternoon session that will include Colombia’s minister of labor, according to Avianca.
“Avianca reiterated its commitment to continue talking with the Colombian Association of Civil Aviators with the goal to sign an agreement,” said the airline in a statement. “Within this framework, the sides announced that they continue to talk with the aim of jointly crafting an agreement that meets the requirements of both the company and the pilots.”
Today’s announcements followed an early morning statement by Avianca calling on Colombia’s Ministry of Labor to intervene in the dispute and “carry out a thorough verification of the requirements required by law” for ACDAC to implement a strike.
Avianca continues to call such action by ACDAC as illegal under a Colombian law that prohibits workers who provide an “essential public service” from going on strike.
ACDAC’s representatives have expressed multiple grievances and demands in public statements, with the primary issue concerning what the union has called “wage discrimination” regarding pilot salaries that they perceive to be low.
(Photo credit: Avianca)