Iberia workers cancel strike
Unions at Spanish flag carrier Iberia on Monday cancelled plans to strike this month in protest over plans to shed 4,500 workers, a union spokesman said.
Airline staff had been called to strike on December 14 and from December 17-21.
“Since we are dealing with a battle that is going to be long, we the unions have agreed not to call a strike during the Christmas period,” said a spokesman for the General Union of Workers (UGT).
Workers did not want to inconvenience passengers, he said.
The government had asked unions not to strike at this time, said Jose Carillo, secretary of the aviation sector of Spain’s largest union, the Workers’ Commissions (CCOO).
The CCOO union had agreed to the government request “so as not to further complicate the lives of people, who are already facing enough difficulties,” he said.
Iberia management issued a statement welcoming the union decision as a “first step on the road to necessary dialogue.”
Loss-making Iberia’s parent International Airlines Group (IAG) announced on November 9 plans to axe 4,500 jobs and cut salaries by 25-35 percent, saying it was the only way to save the carrier and safeguard 15,500 posts.
IAG warned more cuts could follow against the backdrop of Spanish and European economic crises, setting a deadline of January 31 to reach agreement with unions over the cuts.
To stem Iberia’s cash losses by mid-2013, the Spanish airline plans to slash its network capacity by 15 percent and downsize its fleet by 25 aircraft, including five long-haul jets.