Domestic and international travellers going through airports in Buenos Aires were delayed by strike action on Tuesday as labour unrest forced the cancellation of flights.
Air traffic at Ezeiza International Airport, on the outskirts of the capital and Buenos Aires City’s Jorge Newbery Airport was badly affected by industrial action launched by the Association of State Workers (ATE) union based on a wage and contract dispute.
At least 12 flights to destinations including San Luis, Formosa, Jujuy, Rosario, Bahía Blanca and Río Grande were cancelled with state airline Aerolíneas Argentinas hit by staff shortages.
The strike will continue until at least midnight on Wednesday morning (September 28), said Marcelo Belelli, the national coordinator of the ATE-ANAC workers unions, in comments reported by Perfil.com.
"Although there were some talks between the parties, no mandatory conciliation was requested, so the strike continues," he said, adding that the ATE call for a strike was nationwide.
Belelli said that the union is seeking an "emergency wage increase” from the government, as well as “the opening of negotiations to beat inflation and the fulfilment of the transfer of 30,000 workers in the sector to permanent status.”
The decision to walk-off the job was taken by the workers in a national plenary meeting involving more than 50 delegates from all over the country. Union-workers have called another strike for October 5 to strengthen their hand.
On Tuesday morning, chaos prevailed at Aeroparque Jorge Newbery, where all operations were paralysed. Three flights to Jujuy were quickly cancelled, as well as trips to Formosa, Tucumán, Rosario, San Luis and Bariloche.
At Ezeiza, Argentina’s main international terminal, three flights to Bariloche and one to Río Grande were cancelled. Flights to São Paulo and Porto Seguro were delayed.
Rosario International Airport later announced a cessation of activity for the day, affecting 12 flights to Aeroparque Jorge Newbery, Bariloche, Salta and Iguazú.
"Due to trade union measures at national level, commercial air operations are affected. We suggest you contact your airline," the terminal said in a post to customers on Twitter.
On the same social network, the president of Aerolineas Argentinas, Pablo Ceriani, said: "We want to clarify that the affectation of flights today is due to a measure of force of [the] ATE national [union]. It is not a specific conflict with Aerolíneas [Argentinas], nor is it specific to the airline sector. Unfortunately, this strike affects all airlines."
Sectors across Argentina have been hit by labour unrest in recent weeks. A strike by workers demanding higher wages at tyre manufacturers has stopped production across the sector and forced the suspension of activity at two major car factories.