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.
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.
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.
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.