Unions call off planned strikes at Spanish airline Iberia

Unions call off planned strikes at Spanish airline Iberia
# 10 December 2012 22:09 (UTC +04:00)

Baku-APA. Unions representing all workers at Spanish national airline Iberia on Monday agreed to call off the six days of strike action they had planned before Christmas, APA reports quoting Xinhua.

The unions made the decision despite another session of failed talks with Iberia management on Monday. They did that because they were "thinking of the passengers," according to the spokesman for the sector of the Union General de Trabajadores (UGT) Francisco Rodriguez.

The strikes were originally scheduled for December 14, 17, 18, 19, 20 and 21. The unions have not ruled out the possibility of rescheduling the strikes in the new year.

The unions had called the strikes in protest at the airline's plans to shed 4,500 jobs, around a quarter of its workforce and ask the remaining workers to accept considerable paycuts of 25-35 percent.

The airline also announced it would cut a number of routes from its itinerary and alter several others in a bid to cut costs.

Last Friday, Industry Minister Jose Manuel Soria commented that the prospect of a strike at Iberia before Christmas was "the worst thing that could happen to Spain at the current time."

The International Airlines Group (IAG), the parent group for Iberia and British Airways (BA), announced in November that Iberia had seen losses of 262 million euros (341 million U.S. dollars) so far this year in contrast to BA's profits of 286 million euros.

Iberia's Chief Executive Rafael Sanchez Lorenzo said the Spanish flagship airline was in a "fight for survival."

"We have to take tough decisions now to save the company and return it to profitability. Unless we take radical action to introduce permanent structural change, the future for the airline is bleak," said the chief executive. (1 euro = 1.30 U.S. dollars)