Iberia fires eight pilots as union dispute drags on

Airline blames Sepla for urging non-compliance with obligations as part of low-cost carrier conflict

Madrid -

Iberia fired two more pilots on Wednesday for “committing the very serious offense of failing to meet their work obligations,” the company said. According to Iberia, the two pilots refused to fly their scheduled routes without giving any just cause.

“The pilots’ behavior goes against what is outlined in the Workers’ Statute and the company’s own collective bargaining agreements,” the airline said in a statement.

Since the end of February, the air carrier has fired eight pilots who were under internal disciplinary proceedings for refusing to accept assignments during periods when the pilots had no flights programmed but were still at the company’s disposition.

“Iberia regrets the behavior of part of its workforce of pilots who, encouraged by Sepla [union], are not meeting their work obligations, which only serves to hurt the company’s clients.”

Since December, Iberia pilots have held a series of strikes that have affected a large percentage of the air carrier’s routes during peak holiday periods. The Sepla pilots’ union and Iberia have been at odds over the company’s introduction of the low-cost carrier Iberia Express, which this month began to fly new routes.

Sepla has complained that Iberia’s own behavior is one of “threats and firings.” The union adds that it won’t negotiate with Iberia unless the fired pilots are given back their jobs.

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