Hundreds of passengers of the Spanish airline Iberia have been stranded by a two-day strike by cabin crew.
The industrial action, in protest against a four-year wage freeze, forced the cancellation of more than 400 domestic and international flights.
The stoppage is set to run through Tuesday and further strikes are planned for next month.
Unions representing more than 4,000 staff say cabin crew pay has not risen in four years, while the salaries of other employees, including pilots, have increased during the same period.
Passengers at Madrid’s Barajas airport were not impressed. One woman from Mexico said:
“It is a big disruption. They have had to send us through another airline. Here there are no customer rights. I come from Mexico, there they give you compensation, minimum a plane ticket. They suggested we stay one more day but they were unwilling to pay the hotel so we lost the hotel in Rome. Really, I think they are backwards in this respect.”
Iberia is struggling to cope in the global recession and its plans for recovery include severe cutbacks and the formation of a new airline with British Airways. But its propsoals for deeper cooperation with its partners in the sector must get approval from EU competition regulators.