UPDATE 2-LAN Argentina flight workers ordered back to work by government

martes 23 de diciembre de 2014 15:31 GYT

(Updates with union statement)

BUENOS AIRES Dec 23 (Reuters) - A Buenos Aires airport reported domestic flight delays after LAN Argentina airline workers walked off the job on Tuesday only to be quickly ordered back by the government, which ordered wage negotiations to take place at the labor ministry.

LAN Argentina workers went on strike mid-morning over demands for a 40 percent pay increase driven by high inflation in Latin America's No. 3 economy.

LAN Argentina, a unit of Chile-based LATAM Airlines , works from airport Aeroparque Jorge Newbery.

Airport authority information showed there had been some flight delays. The airline said its operations were functioning normally by midday.

The labor ministry ordered both sides to negotiate a settlement, mandating that the airline keep operating while the talks go on. Sergio Mercau, spokesman for the APA aeronautic workers union, said meetings between workers and management were being held at the labor ministry's offices.

Aeroparque Jorge Newberry features mainly domestic flights as well as international flights to nearby countries. Another airport, Ezeiza, is Buenos Aires' hub for foreign routes.

"With respect to the work stoppage announced today by a group of workers, operations are absolutely normal," LAN said in a statement.

Labor relations are touchy in Argentina, where pay increases lag the country's soaring inflation rate, which some private economists estimate is around 40 percent, far higher than official estimates. (Reporting by Hugh Bronstein; Editing by Chizu Nomiyama, W Simon and Andrew Hay)