BOGOTA – The Colombian government decided on Thursday to call on an arbitration tribunal to resolve the labor dispute between Avianca airline and 702 pilots who have been on strike for nine days, according to the minister of labor.
“The national government has made the decision through the Ministry of Labor to convene an arbitration tribunal unofficially,” Griselda Restrepo said.
On Sept. 20, the Colombian Association of Civil Aviators began a strike supported by 702 pilots, approximately half of Avianca’s flight deck staff, saying that they wanted better security at airports, salary changes and a reduction in working hours.
Restrepo said the state would do all it could to ensure the provision of transport, an essential service.
The Air Transport Association of Colombia (ATAC), which consists of the main airlines operating in the country, called on President Juan Manuel Santos on Wednesday to submit the strike by Avianca pilots to an arbitration tribunal.
According to the ATAC, the strike is illegal and the law considers air transport “an essential public service.”
Avianca reported on Thursday that 264 flights were canceled on Wednesday, or 52 percent of those scheduled, as a result of the strike.