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The trickle continues in LATAM Argentina: 1,100 employees have already left

The airline LATAM Argentina insisted before the Ministry of Labor in its request to open a preventive crisis procedure to close the local subsidiary and pay compensation equivalent to 50% of what the collective bargaining agreement establishes. That request has already been rejected by the portfolio headed by Claudio Moroni and, inside the company, they admitted that they have no expectations with the new procedure: they take for granted that the Government will reject the request again.

But while the company’s lawyers advance with what is nothing more than a mere formality, the effective number of employees continued to decline week after week, through voluntary retirement agreements: according to company sources, 1,100 people have already opted for this mechanism. About 1,715 employees that the Argentine subsidiary had on June 17, which was the day it was presented to the Ministry of Labor, today about 700 people remain linked.

“Every day new withdrawals are added. It is not massive, but it is constant,” said the sources. The amount of these withdrawals, they added, are equivalent to more than 100% of the compensation of the collective bargaining agreement. According to some aeronautical unions denounced, within the agreements a lower sum is negotiated, which does not reach 100%.

Regardless of the exact amount that is paid, the number of agreements already concluded is eloquent: almost two-thirds of LATAM Argentina’s personnel have already dissociated themselves. Even some employees who do not belong to that subsidiary, but are part of other companies that LATAM has in the country, such as LATAM Airlines or LATAM Travel, also took voluntary withdrawals.

In fact, these are severance agreements that start in the middle in the tugging between what the company asks for from the outside and the demands of the aeronautical unions.

LATAM’s legal claim is that it is going through a “force majeure” situation as a result of the Government’s decision to have suspended all commercial flights since mid-March, due to the pandemic.

According to this interpretation, the company falls within the framework of article 247 of the Labor Contract Law, which establishes that when dismissals are due to force majeure, the amount of compensation is “equivalent to half” of the established in the collective agreement.

On Tuesday, a march called by the unions went from Aeroparque to the Chilean embassy, ​​in Figueroa Alcorta and Tagle, and ended with a demonstration at the Obelisk. Most of those summoned respond to the unions of ground personnel (APA), technicians (Ustara, since LATAM the APTA union has little weight) and cabin crew (where neither does the official AAA union, but Atcpea ). The demand of the unions is that Decree 528 be applied, which extended the double compensation until December.
The march of LATAM workers, on Tuesday, in front of the Chilean Embassy.

The march of LATAM workers, on Tuesday, in front of the Chilean Embassy.

At the international level, LATAM requested its preventive bankruptcy in the courts of New York (USA), in a procedure known as “Chapter 11”, which does not include its Argentine subsidiary. LATAM is headquartered in Santiago de Chile and is the result of the merger between the Chilean LAN and the Brazilian TAM. Today, managerial control is held by the Chilean Cueto family (21.5% of the shares), followed by the US airline Delta Airlines (20%), Qatar Airways (10%) and Grupo Amaro, former shareholder of TAM (2%). ) as individual partners. The rest of the shares, as of March 31, were distributed among Chilean pension funds (AFPs) (16%), foreign investors (8.9%) and other types of investors (17.7%).

In Argentina, the company announced its cessation of operations on June 17, with the presentation of a request to open a crisis procedure with the Ministry of Labor. After a series of virtual hearings with unions and ministry officials, the Ministry of Labor rejected the company’s request, which continues to silently advance in a self-liquidation process: in addition to voluntary withdrawals, it returned all offices and positions he held at Aeroparque, Ezeiza airport and the 12 destinations within the country where he continued to fly until March.

The local subsidiary still maintains the corporate building within the Costa Salguero property, which is rented, and has at different local airports a dozen Airbus A-320 aircraft with Argentine registration (LV), of which six were stranded at Aeroparque, without possibility that they can take off until the works at that airport are completed, which is planned by the operator Aeropuertos Argentina 2000, which will take place only between December and January.

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