Buenos Aires Times

economy TRANSPORT SECTOR

Norwegian Air Argentina workers granted permission to form union

Airline unions claim the government is trying to stymie union activity in the sector in order to favour a cheaper, less protected labour force in the low-cost market.

Tuesday 19 February, 2019
Transport Secretary Guillermo Dietrich.
Transport Secretary Guillermo Dietrich. Foto:Via @Guillodietrich

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Workers of Norwegian Air Argentina will now form their own union, after the Macri government gave its approval for the new organisation on Tuesday.

The Norwegian Workers Unions (UNEN) will exclusively serve the interests of the low-cost airline's staff in Argentina. The decision, signed by Production and Labour Minister Dante Sica, was published in the Official Gazette on Tuesday. UNEN's leader is Alejandro Botana.

The decision was met with anger by the country's traditional airline unions.

"The government is trying to create poles in the union movement with the aim of weakening the labour movement in general, through the destruction of unions' representational system, and of aeronautic unions in particular", the head of the Airline Pilots Association (APLA), Pablo Biró, told news portal LetraP.com

In January, the government gave the green light to the FlyBondi Unionised Workers Association, following a series of ugly and public disputes with the country's six traditional unions. It included strikes and massive delays at the country's metropolitan airports.

Airline unions claim the government is trying to stymie union activity in the sector in order to favour a cheaper, less protected labour force in the low-cost market.

OPPORTUNITIES AND CONFLICT

With its pro-market, modernising agenda, the Mauricio Macri government granted over 630 new routes to 13 companies in tender processes throughout 2017.

The most recent addition to Argentina's commercial air travel market was JetSMART, an airline which last week began selling promotional tickets on 5,000 flights for just AR$ 1 (0.25 cents).

-TIMES

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