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BRASILIA, Aug 1 (.) – LATAM Airlines will lay off “at least” 2,700 workers in Brazil, including pilots, its local unit said on Saturday, as Latin America’s largest airline is cutting costs amid the collapse of the industry due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

In a statement, LATAM Brazil said that it opened a voluntary dismissal process on Friday that will last until August 4, with which at least 2,700 jobs will be eliminated.

The layoffs follow the failure of the company and its unions in Brazil to reach an agreement on a temporary reduction of hours and wages. Early Saturday, the newspapers O Globo and O Estado de S. Paulo reported on the job cuts.

LATAM said it pays its pilots and cabin workers more than its rivals in Brazil, and that the pandemic has forced it to “match industry practices.”

Before the new coronavirus crisis, the airline had 43,000 workers worldwide, most of them in Brazil and Chile.

LATAM is seeking to restructure $ 18 billion in debt. When it filed for bankruptcy protection in the United States in May, it was the world’s largest airline to date seeking an emergency reorganization due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

(Report by Jamie McGeever and Marcelo Rochabrun, edited in Spanish by Gabriela Donoso)

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