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Spanish airline Iberia and its unions seem to be close to an agreement on mass job cuts.

The idea did not find favour with some employees, who chanted “We won’t sign” as they pounded on the door of a meeting between their union reps and a government-appointed mediator.

The mediator, Gregorio Tudela, a professor at Madrid’s Autonomous University, has reduced the number of layoffs by 666 positions to 3,141.

He said: “Different unions spoke, and there’s been major support for the proposal. Some disagree, of course, and others have yet to make a decision.”

As well as fewer job losses than the original 3,807, there will be increased redundancy payouts for others.

Francisco Rodríguez, from the UGT union, the biggest of the 10 unions involved, told reporters: “If we have a majority agreement on Wednesday, we’ll end our strike. If not we will keep on striking.”

Iberia’s unions have held strikes for 10 days in the last two weeks with hundreds of flights cancelled at a cost of three million euros a day.

Parent group IAG, which also owns British Airways, says the layoff are essential if loss-making Iberia is to survive.

Spain’s Public Works Minister, Ana Pastor, said she expected unions and the company to now work together and move “in the same direction”.

“I think there could finally be an agreement because the airline sector and particularly Iberia are very important for the future of our country, firstly for workers but also for our airports, tourism in Spain and connections with Latin America,” Pastor said.

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