Latin America & Caribbean

Chile airport workers end strike that left thousands stranded

Passengers stranded during Chile airport strike, 17 Dec 2015 Image copyright Reuters
Image caption Airlines said it would take several days to clear the backlog of stranded passengers

Airport workers in Chile have agreed to end a four-day strike that led to major disruption.

Most flights coming out of or landing in Chile's main airports were cancelled or delayed.

The strike hit Chile in the busy run-up to the Christmas holiday period, leaving thousands of people stranded.

The airport ground workers' union called the strike after the government rejected their request to join the more generous Chilean military pension plan.

Some 3,000 luggage handlers, airport security and weather forecasters at 12 Chilean airports joined the strike.

'Go the extra mile'

Airport workers had gone on strike for 24 hours in September over the same issue.

This time the stoppage was meant to last 48 hours but it took four days for both sides to reach an understanding.

Their differences have not been solved, but the employees have agreed to resume talks.

Chilean Defence Minister Jose Antonio Gomez apologised for the disruption and said that airport staff would put in extra effort to try to bring the situation back to normal as quickly as possible.

"We will go the extra mile together with the airlines, with all of our staff and also with workers from the civil aviation authority to reverse this situation," said Mr Gomez.

Chile's flagship carrier, LAN, which is part of LATAM Airlines, said it would add 16 domestic flights to its daily schedule in the next few days.

But the airlines it will take days to take everyone to their destinations, as flights were already booked up before the strike began on Thursday.

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