IAG backtracks on Iberia job cuts

George Mills/The Local/AFP
George Mills/The Local/AFP - [email protected] • 10 Mar, 2013 Updated Sun 10 Mar 2013 21:27 CEST
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International Airlines Group, owner of the Spanish airline Iberia, has accepted a plan put forward by a Spanish government-appointed mediator which will see some 700 fewer job losses at the carrier than it originally planned.


International Airlines Group (IAG) told Spain's Securities and Exchange Commission on Sunday that it now plans to cut 3,141 jobs Iberia, and not the 3,807 jobs it originally wanted to axe.

"The board of International Airlines Group has met today in an extraordinary session to analyse and assess the proposal issued by a mediator regarding Iberia. As a result, the board has decided to accept the proposal," the company said in a statement late on Sunday.

Unions representing Iberia workers are due to meet with the mediator later on Monday to give their response to the proposal.

The IAG decision comes in the wake of a proposal put forward by the Spanish labour law professor Gregorio Tudela, reported El Mundo on Sunday.

Following Tudela's plans, IAG will now dismiss 2,256 Iberia ground staff instead of the original figure of 2,735. Some 627 cabin crew will find themselves unemployed and not 759, as originally stated by IAG.

Meanwhile, the number of pilots facing the unemployment line is 258 rather than 313.

In total 16 percent of Iberia's current 20,000-strong workforce are facing the axe.

The cuts also include a 14 percent salary reduction for cabin crew pilots and a seven percent smaller pay packet for ground staff.

International Airlines Group is the holding company set up for Iberia and British Airways after the two airlines merged in 2011.

Iberia ground and flight staff wrapped up a second five-day strike on Friday against the planned job cuts and salary reductions which forced the cancellation of nearly 1,400 flights.

Iberia workers carried out the first of their three five-day strikes last month and plan another from March 18 to 22. A minimum service operates during the strike under Spanish law.

Unions have threatened to stage an open-ended strike unless Iberia backs down on its plans.

Iberia executives say the airline accumulated €850 million in losses between 2008 and September 2012.

To stem the company's 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.

IAG announced in November last year that it wanted to cut 4,500 jobs at Iberia. Since then, staff at the Spanish flag carrier have been striking regularly to protest the move.

Recent demonstrations saw some staff at Iberia bearing placards with slogans like "British Go Home", but unions and cabin staff assured The Local that the ill feeling was directed towards IAG and British Airways, and not towards British people.

"This is not Trafalgar," UGT spokesman Francisco Rodríguez assured the Local.  



George Mills/The Local/AFP 2013/03/10 21:27

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