An agreement has been reached between Colombia’s largest airline Avianca and its pilots after 21 days of industrial action, according to newspaper El Espectador.
The airline promised on Wedensday to increase the salary of pilots and co-pilots by 11% to put an end to “operation no overtime,” which saw almost 1000 pilots refuse to fly for more than 75 hours per month.
The agreement was made between the Fliers Organization of Avianca (Odeaa) and the airline after eight rounds of negotiations, mediated by the Minster for Work, Rafael Pardo, and Deputy Minister for Labor Relations, Jose Noe Rios.
The airline has still not reached an agreement with the other pilots union involved in the discussions, Acdac, that represents some 550 pilots.
The salary increase agreed with Odeaa will last for four years, beginning retrospectively on April 1st 2013.
During the industrial action Avianca reduced their flights by 3.5% per day, affecting some of their 331 daily domestic flights, especially the most popular routes between the main cities of Bogota, Medellin, Cali and Barranquilla.
The pilots wanted the salary increase to put them in the same pay bracket as pilots at other major airlines. They originally asked for 25% for pilots and 27.93% for co-pilots, increases described by Avianca’s President Fabio Villegas as “exorbitant” and “impossible.”
At the center of the dispute was infrastructure issues at Bogota’s El Dorado airport that often led to delays. Odeaa’s leader Jose Maria Jaimes wanted these delays to count as overtime pay. He said in an interview with newspaper El Tiempo: “When we land, we sometimes have to wait up an hour to park. And knowing this, the company dares to ask that that be part of pilots’ salaries.”
Avianca flies to 100 different national and international destinations.
Pilotos y directivas de Avianca llegaron a un acuerdo (El Espectador)