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AR Workers Block Iberia Flight

Sat May 26, 2001 8:14 am

Protest in front of Spanish Embassy
AR workers block Iberia flight

Over 100 workers from the flag carrier Aerolíneas Argentinas (AR) yesterday delayed the take-off of an Iberia flight at Ezeiza international airport to protest wage arrears.
Both AR and Iberia are run by the Spanish government agency SEPI.
The protesters circled the airplane with an Argentine flag over 100 metres long and delayed the flight for almost an hour. The protest then continued in the airport’s main hall.
The secretary-general of the APA aviation personnel union, Ariel Basteiro, said Iberia “is responsible for asset-stripping (the company) and for the situation we are now experiencing.”
Basteiro said AR employees would continue to protest against Spanish interests in Argentina.
Two other unions involved in the conflict with AR meanwhile protested in front of the Spanish Embassy. The protest was organized by the APTA technicians’ union and the AAA flight attendants’ union.
Dissident General Labour Confederation (CGT) leader Hugo Moyano, who was also present at the protest, accused the Spanish government of “taking advantage of the government’s weakness.”
The conflict with AR has lasted for over three weeks. Negotiations between the Labour Ministry and the seven unions involved in the conflict fell through last week after APTA refused to sign an agreement setting up voluntary arbitration.
Labour Minister Patricia Bullrich confirmed that she will travel to Spain on Monday with Economy Minister Domingo Cavallo to attempt to negotiate “a solution for Aerolíneas Argentinas and this company’s workers.”
Bullrich said: “We are going with all the tools to discuss (and) work on the possibility of pulling it out (of its crisis).”
Labour Ministry authorities were seeking yesterday to promote an agreement between AR and unions on the payment of April arrears. The wages could be paid next week.
Presidential Chief-of-Staff Nicolás Gallo meanwhile declared: “The government complied with all its responsibilities as a shareholder” of AR when it announced that it would advance 16.2 million dollars for the payment of wages.

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