Colombia’s largest airline was ordered to resume discussions with its pilots union, with whom it failed to reach an agreement last year.
In a ruling by the Superior Court of Bogota, Avianca airlines was given a 48-hour deadline to begin discussions with the Colombian Association of Civil Aviators (ACDAC), the union that represents 43% of its pilots, continuing talks that initially began in September 2013.
The court judgment called for a direct settlement on the list of demands presented by ACDAC in December 2013.
ACDAC President Captain Jaime Hernandez said of the decision, “Our willingness for dialogue and negotiation remains, and we are confident that the company will comply with the ruling and call us to begin the negotiation process, from which we expect favorable results for both parties.”
The court order was handed down after the pilot’s union filed a complaint, accusing Avianca officials of refusing to hold discussions in regards to demands that were made.
The original list of demands was presented by ACDAC in December, following negotiations in late September and early October.
During those negotiations, the airline reached an agreement with Fliers Organization of Aviana (ODEAA), a pilot’s union that represented 57% of the 982 pilots involved. Union officials accepted an 11% pay raise, dependent on productivity improvements.
The airline was unable to reach an agreement with ACDAC, however, which represents the remaining 43% of Avianca’s pilots.
During the industrial action, Avianca reduced their flights by 3.5% per day, affecting some of their 331 daily domestic flights, including such high-traffic routes as those between Bogota, Medellin, Cali and Barranquilla.
ACDAC’s current list of demands include requests for aviation safety improvements in regards to working hours, wage stability, union rights and maternity rights and benefits.
A statement about the court’s decision can be seen on the union’s website and reads, “The Colombian justice system has protect our rights to freedom of association and collective bargaining.”
Despite the ruling, Avianca has a right to challenge the court’s decision. The company was not available for comment at the time this article was published.