Planning weekend getaways can be a perilous businesses. Passengers with tickets to leave Buenos Aires this morning were hit by delays at Aeroparque and Ezeiza due to a surprise strike by employees of the company Intercargo, specifically the personnel charged with loading and unloading passengers’ luggage, due to issues in their salary negotiations. The strike was lifted shortly after 10:30 a.m. but the airports are set to remain chaotic for the next few hours.
Aerolíneas Argentinas and American Airlines were the only two airlines not affected by the strike because they have their own personnel.
The Press Secretary of the Argentine Federation of Aeronautical Personnel (FAPA), Marcelo Uhrich, told press that the strike began after the union sat down with Intercargo, to sign a new salary agreement.
“This is an issue of aeronautical politics. We’ve been negotiating our salary increase with Intercargo for a month and a half and when we came the day before yesterday to sign the negotiated agreement […] when we got there HR told us that the [closed] deal had fallen through […] Intercargo can’t say that it’s due to economic problems because […] 80 percent of its revenue is in dollars. They can’t say they don’t have money [to increase salaries],” explained Uhrich.
There were two meetings with Transport Minister Guillermo Dietrich, after which no agreement was reached, so the FAPA decided to go on strike.
This short strike came on the back of similar labor strife at both airports last weekend, after key pilots’ unions launched an unexpected strike for 16 hours (also over salary negotiations), leaving thousands of passengers stranded.
This time, the strike was much less dramatic so things should be up and running a lot more quickly. But just in case, if you have to go to the airport, arm yourself with a bit of patience.