Daily flights to Sao Paulo and Rio de Jenero connect the country with nearly all four corners of the world. When many travelers are busy packing up their bags to visit Brazil, the countrys two key airlines Tam Sa and Gol Linhas Aereas Inteligentes SA, face a threatened strike today. This expected strike on December 23rd by employees of the airlines, in the midst of the countrys pre- Christmas travel rush can be the Grinch Christmas-stealer for those planning to spend the eve at home or holiday in Brazil.
The strike date that is said to be two days before the Dec. 25 Christmas holiday, poses a serious threat to Brazils busiest air-travel season. It is the time of the year when airlines make the cream of their annual revenues and travelers do not want to miss a day.
The reason behind this sudden strike is that Brazils national air worker union has been in talks seeking a pay raise since September, 2010. The 13 percent raise demanded by the union, is more than twice the industrys 6.1 percent offer, which has resulted in clash of the parties.
Tam is Brazils biggest airline based on its share of the air-travel market, while Gol is the countrys largest by stock- market value. The airlines, however, seem somewhat prepare to face the challenges as Gol said it would maintain todays flight schedule. Air Tam, that also operates flights to Sao Paulo from London Heathrow, declined to comment on the current scenario.
Speaking to a news agency, yesterday in a telephone interview union President Selma Balbino said:
War is war. Were not concerned with strike law, since the only thing that matters to us now is to keep our dignity, She further added: I simply dont care.
According to the civil aviation regulator Anac, this year December traffic jumped 15.5 percent from Novembers total. President of Brazilian industrys trade group Snea Mr. Jose Marcio Mollo said:
The airlines believe both in their workers and the unions common sense and dedication, especially in such a time in which the main losers would be the passengers,
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