Iberia workers sign deal to end conflict with management

Pilots union decline to adhere to compromise agreement over number of layoffs and pay cuts

Iberia's cabin crew and ground staff workers on Wednesday signed an agreement that puts an end to extended industrial action to protest the airline’s restructuring plan that caused hundreds of flights to be canceled over recent months.

The main UGT, CCOO, CTA Vuelo, Sitcpla and Asetma unions also agreed not to hold any stoppages over the next six months after accepting a deal brokered by labor law expert Gregorio Tudela that reduces the number of workers to be laid off. The management had accepted the mediator’s recommendations on Sunday.

However, the pilots union Sepla declined to sign the accord, although it also pledged not to strike while it negotiates with the management, union official Justo Peral said. Peral thanked the mediator for his efforts but argued that the terms of agreement discriminated against the pilots.

Ministry involvement

The agreement was signed in the Public Works Ministry building in the presence of the head of the department, Ana Pastor. In reference to Sepla, Pastor said she hoped all other unions would also adhere to the agreement next week.

The conflict between management and workers began in November and included two five-day stoppages in February and March. The unions on Wednesday officially canceled another five-day strike slated for March 18-22.

Tudela’s recommendations included reducing the number of jobs cuts from 3,807 to 3,141, some 16 percent of Iberia’s workforce. He also reduced the company’s proposal to cut wages by between 25 and 35 percent to a haircut of seven percent for ground staff and 14 percent for cabin crew and pilots. A wage freeze will also be in place through to 2015.

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