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LAN pilots in Colombia refuse overtime to press labor dispute

A LAN Chile passenger plane flying from Santiago lands at Sydney airport April 28, 2009. REUTERS/Tim Wimborne
A LAN Chile passenger plane flying from Santiago lands at Sydney airport April 28, 2009. REUTERS/Tim Wimborne

BOGOTA (Reuters) - Unionized pilots at the Colombian subsidiary of Chilean airline LAN said on Friday they would refuse to work overtime amid a labor dispute, after a similar protest by pilots at Colombian airline Avianca ended this week with a pay increase.

The Colombian Association of Civil Aviators (Acdac) said LAN's 34 unionized pilots in Colombia would refuse overtime complaining that anti-union policies at the company meant fewer than 20 percent of around 200 pilots were union members.

"We begin this (protest) due to the fact that for around two years company management has failed to recognize the decision of an arbitration tribunal that obliges it to guarantee equal labor conditions for all pilots," Acdac said.

Acdac says that unionized pilots are paid between $2,100 and $4,200 less per month than those who are not union members.

Lan said in a statement that its flight schedule would not be affected and said that it complies with Colombian laws and staff's right to union membership. LAN said it has 207 pilots, 29 are members of Acdac.

LAN's Colombian operation is the main competitor of Avianca owned by Avianca Holdings . Avianca reached a deal with to raise pilots' salaries 11 percent this week after they began refusing overtime on September 13, disrupting its flight schedule.

(Reporting by Luis Jaime Acosta; Writing by Peter Murphy; Editing by Michael Perry)

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