Strike at Chilean airports grounds tens of thousands

GMT 06:06 2015 Wednesday ,16 September

Arab Today, arab today Strike at Chilean airports grounds tens of thousands

Airport workers
Santiago - Arab Today

Airport workers have staged a 24-hour strike in Chile, grounding flights across the country and disrupting travel plans for some 50,000 passengers.

The strike was called by air traffic controllers, ground support staff and other airport personnel to demand better retirement benefits.

Government spokesman Marcelo Diaz said that "never in Chilean history" had there been such a large shutdown. At least 324 flights had to be cancelled.

Several airlines operating in the South American country, including LATAM, Air France and Sky Airlines, had contacted affected clients to reschedule their departures free of charge.

But hundreds of passengers were stranded at the international airport in Santiago, the country's main hub.
"They told us to come three hours before our flight despite the strike, and now they tell us we'll have to change," said Nori Carrillo, whose flight to Colombia was cancelled.

"The problem is, people have hotel reservations at our destinations, and no one is taking responsibility for that."

While many passengers were upset at the inconvenience, there were no incidents reported at any airport, officials said.

Labor Minister Ximena Rincon condemned the strike as "illegal," saying the workers were public employees.

The action was due to end at midnight (0300 GMT Wednesday) with flights expected to resume at that time.


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