BOGOTA, March 14 Pilots flying for Colombian
airline Avianca are seeking a negotiated pay increase
that would allow the airline to return to normal operations
after many pilots last week stopped working overtime hours,
officials said on Tuesday.
The Organization of Avianca Aviators (ODEAA), the union
representing nearly half of Avianca's pilots, has ruled out a
full strike for now and agreed with the airline to extend
negotiations for 20 days.
"If there's no agreement, the zero overtime will continue,"
ODEAA President Jose Maria Jaimes told Reuters.
Jaimes said that 750 pilots grouped in the ODEAA demand that
their salaries be equivalent to those paid to pilots at other
Latin American airlines - or as much as $11,500 a month, up from
$6,000 with Avianca.
The ODEAA-represented pilots argue that a new government tax
reform, which began in January, has also cut into their
Avianca, which said it will extend its dialogue with the
union, has offered a 7.25 percent pay increase - above the
country's 2016 inflation rate of 5.75 percent - but ruled out
leveling of salaries against other regional airlines.
"Our salary structure is not determined by the best-paid
country in the region, but rather it must take into account the
purchasing power of each country where we operate, as is done in
any global company," Avianca said in a letter to ODEAA seen by
Avianca Holdings, a member of the Star Alliance and one of
the leading airlines in Latin America, carried 29.5 million
passengers in 2016, has more than 21,000 employees and serves
105 destinations in 28 countries in America and Europe.
(Reporting by Luis Jaime Acosta, writing by Helen Murphy,
editing by G Crosse)