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BUSINESS

Iberia pilots call off plans for extended strike action

Sepla union accepts proposal to have a mediator

Pilots at Spanish airline Iberia have called off a series of strikes intended to protest against the start-up of a low-cost airline, a spokeswoman for Iberia said on Tuesday.

“[The pilots] have accepted the proposal to have a mediator,” a spokeswoman told Reuters. Pilots union Sepla was not available for comment.

Agreement was reached on Monday in a meeting with representatives from the Employment and Social Security Ministries.

Pilots who work for the airline, part of International Airlines Group, had announced a calendar of 24 days of strikes between March 16 and May 28.

The pilots are concerned that thousands of jobs will go after the start of low-cost airline Iberia Express, due to launch on March 25, which will cover routes in Spain and Europe.

Since December, Iberia pilots have already carried out 12 days of strikes and from February 13 were joined in their protests by cabin crew union Stavla.

Strikes so far have caused Iberia to cancel around 1,400 flights at a cost of 36 million euros.

The industry, energy and tourism minister, José Manuel Soria, said Tuesday that the cancelation of the strikes was “very positive.”

“I am very happy that the employees have taken this decision,” he continued. “And I hope that sooner or later, they reach an agreement thanks to arbitration.”

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