Spanish carrier Iberia takes action against 14 pilots

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The carrier is taking disciplinary action against 14 pilots who are believed to have played a part in flight delays and cancellations earlier this week.

MADRID – Spanish carrier Iberia has taken disciplinary action against 14 of its pilots after flight delays and cancellations blamed in media reports on a wildcat strike, a spokesman said Wednesday.

"We have opened disciplinary proceedings against 14 pilots who may have acted in an irregular way," he told AFP, adding the step could result in sanctions being taken against them, including their dismissal.

Iberia is still investigating the causes of the recent disruption of dozens of its flights, which has mostly involved its domestic service and European destinations, he added.

The airline, which is discussing a tie-up with British Airways, was forced to cancel 13 flights on Wednesday, bringing to over 100 the number of flights that have been cancelled since Friday.

The flight disruptions follow the breakdown in talks with pilots over a change to their collective agreement.

Pilots' union Sepla denies a wildcat strike is underway as reported Monday by daily newspaper El Mundo and instead blames the disruption on a shortage of around 300 pilots.

"It is a premeditated action on the part of pilots to try to influence negotiations regarding the convention," the newspaper wrote, citing an unidentified company source.

Iberia is carrying out a restructuring plan that reduces its internal and medium-haul flights, which face stiff competition from low-cost airlines, and boosts flights on its more profitable long-haul routes.

In November, the company which has a total workforce of about 17,000 employees, said its third-quarter earnings plunged nearly 80 percent due to soaring fuel prices and weak demand.

[AFP / Expatica]

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