Iberia strikes go on with no progress made on layoff plan

Union officials describe meeting with management on Wednesday as a “farce”

The first meeting between representatives of ground staff and cabin crew with the management of Iberia since the start of this week’s five one-day stoppages to protest planned layoffs has ended without any progress being made, labor union officials said Wednesday.

Works committee officials said the meeting, held at the instigation of the government, lasted barely 15 minutes, adding that workers do not rule out stepping up their protests against the airline’s plan to lay off some 3,800 workers, equivalent to 19 percent of its workforce.

"Willing to agree"

No dates were set for further meetings. Manuel Atienza, a representative of the airline sector of the UGT union, described Wednesday’s meeting as a “farce.” But Iberia sources reiterated the airline’s willingness to “reach an agreement.”

A total of 273 flights were canceled on Wednesday; 86 of Iberia’s, 105 of Air Nostrum, 63 of Vueling’s and 19 of Iberia Express. The other carriers rely on Iberia for handling services.

Apart from clashes on Monday between police and strikers at Terminal 4 of Barajas Madrid, there have been no significant incidents reported during the protests.

The government is concerned about the impact of the stoppages on the tourism sector. The Public Works Ministry estimates that the strikes will cost the domestic economy about 10 million euros a day.

Labor unions have also called stoppages for the periods March 4-8 and March 18-22.


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