Santiago-based LATAM Airlines Group management has reportedly offered a last-minute concession to the cabin crew union of its subsidiary LAN Express, in an effort to stave off a strike action called by the union for Tuesday April 10.

The Santiago Times said April 9 that LATAM issued a statement saying the airline group “has relaxed its proposal before the negotiating table, accessing the main requirement of the union, which is the work shift system. Although the law in Chile allows for a shift of 10 days worked by four days of rest, the company agreed to offer a shift of seven days of work for four days of rest.”

The union is expected to vote on the proposal Monday April 9.  Reuters reported that several months of government-mediated talks between the airline and the union, which represents about 1,000 airline workers, had failed to produce a new labor contract. The strike was originally called for April 3, but was postponed a week to allow either side the opportunity to request a five-day period of continued collective bargaining.

Reuters said the union released a statement April 7 warning the threatened strike would affect all local flights and international connections in Chile for LATAM.

The airline group responded by pre-emptively canceling certain flights within Chile, excluding Easter Island flights, and several international flights within South America between April 10-16. Long-haul LATAM flights would be unaffected, the company said.

In a statement to its Chilean customers released April 7, LATAM said the process of mediation talks continues with the LAN Express union with “the company … confident in reaching a satisfactory agreement for both parties. The process will run until next Monday, April 9, so the eventual paralysis will not begin before next Tuesday, April 10.”

The threatened cabin crew strike comes on the heels of a national strike in Argentina on April 6, which resulted in several cancellations on LATAM flights to and from Argentinian airports. LATAM re-established its Argentina flights April 7.

Mark Nensel