By Pedro Rafael Vilela
Brazilian pilots and flight attendants from major airlines across the country have approved a nationwide strike starting next Monday (Dec. 19). The decision was made at a general workers’ meeting Thursday (15), the National Union of Aeronauts (SNA) reported.
The walkout should last indefinitely and be staged everyday from 6 to 8 am at the airports of the cities of São Paulo, Rio de Janeiro, Campinas, Porto Alegre, Brasília, Belo Horizonte, and Fortaleza—the largest in Brazil. The move is likely to trigger a cascading effect of delays and possible flight cancellations.
The strike, the union said, is motivated by the “frustrating talks on the renewal of the Collective Labor Convention.” The agreement is still being discussed by workers’ unions and airlines. The stoppage will not affect flights carrying organs for transplant, vaccines, or patients in medical care, the SNA added.
The airline workers are demanding the recovery of inflationary losses and a real gain in wages and benefits. The union argues that pricey tickets have brought mounting profits for the companies. From January to October this year, for instance, the average ticket price is reported to have soared 35 percent.
In a statement, the National Union of Airline Companies (SNEA) said it has offered a raise of 100 percent of the country’s official inflation rate in the wage floor, daily rates, life insurance, and food vouchers, in addition to the establishment of December 1 as the reference date, with all financial and social clauses of the Collective Agreement preserved for as long as negotiations are in progress. So far, however, the employers’ union has not received a counterproposal from the workers.
On the hike in airfares, the association argued that prices “were strongly affected in recent years by the pandemic, conflicts in Europe, the devaluation of the real against the dollar, and higher oil prices.” In addition, the SNEA pointed out that aviation kerosene has increased 118 percent from 2019 and now accounts for over 50 percent of costs.