A five-day strike has begun at Iberia, Spain’s national carrier, which merged with British Airways in 2011.
Workers are angry at nearly 4,000 job losses at the loss-making airline, and two more five-day strikes are planned for February and March. Iberia claims it has re-assigned many passengers, but there is plenty of confusion.
“I chose an Iberia flight with an ongoing connection, but then the first flight failed and I am about to take the second – another Iberia flight – but to get where I want to go I’ll have to take a different connecting flight,” said one bleary-eyed traveller.
This first strike coincides with school holidays in Britain, Spain’s biggest source of tourists. Spain’s Transport Ministry estimated the strike will cost 10 million euros a day.
“Workers have no other option. Radical measures are needed to save jobs. On the table now is a plan that for the first time in the company’s history will cut 20 percent of the workforce,” said CCOO union member Eduardo Garcia.
Salaries for the remaining workers will also be cut as Iberia tries to recover its position. It lost 262 million euros in the first nine months of last year.