No progress in Iberia Express talks, strikes to continue in Spain

Iberia Express and unions met on Tuesday but failed to reach an agreement on pay, meaning that strike action will continue into September and add to a summer of disrupted travel in Spain.

No progress in Iberia Express talks, strikes to continue in Spain
Empty check-in counters at Barcelona's El Prat airport amid the summer of strike action. Photo: Pau BARRENA/AFP

Iberia Express and the USO union representing striking cabin crew failed to reach an agreement over pay on Tuesday. This means that strike action will continue until September 6th.

Negotiations have stalled after the airline’s refusal to raise the salaries of its crew members in line with the Consumer Price Index (CPI) of 2021 (6.5 percent) and to adapt their pay to the ongoing cost of living shock. For many staff, pay has been frozen since 2015.

READ MORE: Strike at Spain’s Iberia Express grounds flights

The USO has criticised the “blocking” position of the airline, which “has not considered thinking about the proposed agreement, preferring to give continuity to the conflict before giving in to the demands.”

The USO delegate at Iberia Express, Estefanía Diaz, has accused the airline of worsening travel disruption for customers by “not presenting documentation such as that of unprotected flights on strike days.”

In a statement on Tuesday, the airline appealed to staff and members of the USO to “abandon the path of conflict and social confrontation” and to move towards reaching an agreement.

READ MORE: The complete list of Iberia Express flights cancelled in Spain due to strikes

The strike action, which began on August 28th and is set to last until September 6th, could cause as many as 92 cancellations affecting tens of thousands of passengers, according to a spokesperson from the USO.

The disruption adds to a summer of travel misery across both Spain and Europe, and Spain’s airline sector in particular has struggled with industrial action at budget rivals EasyJet and Ryanair.

Yet the walkouts have done little to dent the rapid recovery of Spain’s tourism sector following the COVID-19 pandemic. According to Spain’s Ministry of Tourism, 22.7 million tourists visited the country in the first five months of 2022, seven times the number in the same period in 2021.

READ MORE: Spain eyes tourism record after ‘dazzling’ summer surge

Iberia Express connects Madrid with about 40 cities across Europe. Spain’s national carrier Iberia is owned by IAG, which also owns British Airways and Ireland’s Aer Lingus.

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640 flights cancelled as storm Hermine hits Spain’s Canary Islands

Torrential rains and high winds prompted the cancellation of more than 640 Canary Islands flights over the previous 36 hours, Spain's AENA airports operator said on Monday.

640 flights cancelled as storm Hermine hits Spain's Canary Islands

Most of the cancellations took place on Sunday, when 540 flights to and from the Atlantic archipelago had to be axed and another 54 rerouted as tropical storm Hermine battered the islands.

By 8:40 am (1040 GMT) on Monday, another 102 flights to and from the islands had been cancelled while six others were re-routed to other destinations, AENA said in an update on Twitter.

Most of the cancellations affected the two airports on Tenerife, the largest of the Spanish islands, which are located off the northwestern coast of Morocco.

AEMET said the rain would continue on Monday but would be “less intense” than at the weekend, saying the downpour had resulted in the islands’ “wettest
September on record”.