ETF support striking Swissport workers in Chile

June 24, 2019

The ITF Civil Aviation Section has been joined by the ETF Civil Aviation Section representing more than 80 unions with aviation workers in 41 countries in Europe, supporting the baggage handlers at the Arturo Merino Benitez International Airport in Santiago, Chile in their collective action against Swissport in order to achieve a pay rise.

The European aviation unions met in Brussels last week and expressed their support for their sisters and brothers in Chile. The workers and their union, the Union of Workers of Swissport (Sindicato de Trabajadores de Empresa Swissport Chile) have long been complaining to management about low wages, but their demands remained unheard.

On 9 May the workers began an indefinite strike and since then they have been courageously fighting for decent wages to compensate for price increases in food and other basic necessities. They are demanding a 3% raise plus value-added tax for a duration of 3 years. They also want paid vacations and holiday pay.

The local management is undermining the strike action by maintaining part of the operations through the use of strike-breakers.

After two months of unfruitful negotiations, a tripartite meeting called by the Labour Ministry mid-May, the baggage handlers have held a number of peaceful demonstrations with banners and pickets at the Swissport entrance. On 13 May, things turned ugly and the Chilean police attacked pickets using a water cannon. Some of the workers were arrested.

The ITF & ETF Civil Aviation Sections offer their solidarity and call for Swissport to accept the trade union demands for a pay rise.

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