Madrid, Spain (4E) – Unions representing most employees of struggling Spanish airline Iberia announced on Thursday that they would stage strikes in the run up to Christmas in a protest for the company’s decision for massive downsizing.
The industrial action comes as International Airlines Group (IAG), owner of Iberia and British Airways, announced that it would cut 4,500 jobs at the Spanish airline.
In a news conference in Madrid, representatives from General Workers Union (UGT) stated their they are extending the strike to six days, which is longer than their original announcement of a five-day strike. They will begin their strike on Dec. 14 and will continue through Dec. 17- 21.
If the company proceeds with its plan that could force 21 per cent of its workforce out of the job, UGT warned that strikes may continue until January. The planned downsizing could affect 573 pilots, 932 members of the cabin-crew and 3,037 ground-based personnel. The airline also proposes wage reductions in most of its remaining staff.
Iberia has set a Jan. 31 deadline next year for both the company and the unions to reach an agreement over the planned cuts. Failure to reach a deal could mean further job cuts and reduction in the number of flights by the airline.
Iberia is struggling financially with record losses and unprofitable operations as the prolonged recession in Spain continues to batter its balance sheet.
IAG said that Iberia is losing 1.7mn euros a day and has incurred an operating loss of 262mn euros ($338.6mn) for the first three quarters of the year.