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Spain’s Iberia cabin crew launch two-day strike

Madrid – Cabin crew at Spain’s national carrier Iberia launched a two-day strike Monday over a pay dispute, forcing the airline to cancel hundreds of flights, a spokeswoman said.

Around 400 national and international flights will be hit by the walkout, according to a list on Iberia’s website.

"The strike affects routes that have more than one flight per day," said the Iberia spokeswoman.

Unions representing flight crews are in dispute with management over their collective agreement. They plan to stage another strike on 10-11 November.

"Because of the strike called by the CTA and SITCPLA cabin attendants unions, Iberia is cancelling some flights scheduled for 26-27 October, since they are not covered by the minimum services requirement established by Spanish authorities," Iberia said in a statement when it announced the walkout Friday.

The carrier, which is in merger talks with British Airways, on Thursday announced it will create a new airline to handle its short- and medium- haul routes as part of a major restructuring plan aimed at confronting declining revenues amid the economic crisis.

Among other measures, it plans a hiring freeze for the duration of the plan, a company-wide wage freeze in 2010 and 2011, lay-offs of all cabin attendants older than 55 and additional savings of up to EUR 37 million a year in overhead costs in 2011 and 2012.

AFP / Expatica