Union strike to ground local, international flights at Chile unit of LATAM airlines

A union strike at the Chilean unit of LATAM airlines is expected to ground local and international flights.

The union representing maintenance workers at the unit, LAN Express, will begin their stoppage demanding a salary hike on Thursday. LAN Express covers mostly domestic routes but also has some flights abroad.

Union secretary Eric Arce told The Associated Press Wednesday that workers are demanding a 9 percent salary increase, above the 3.5 percent offered by the company.

LAN Chile said in a statement Wednesday that it will try to continue operating within its itinerary and minimizing the effects of the strike on its operations.

LATAM is Latin America's largest passenger airline. It was formed in 2012 after a merger of Chile's LAN Airlines and Brazil's TAM airlines.