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INDUSTRIAL ACTION

In-principle agreement reached with unions to end Iberia stoppages

Labor assemblies to vote on mediator’s proposals

The leaders of labor unions representing the majority of workers at Iberia have accepted the compromise proposals put forward by a mediator on the company’s restructuring plan, promising an end to strike action that has seen hundreds of flights canceled since last month, labor sources said Monday.

Union leaders are due to put the proposals of the mediator, labor law expert Gregorio Tudela, to an assembly on Tuesday. They will then meet with Tudela, a professor at the Autonomous University of Madrid (UAM), to formally convey the decision.

On Sunday, the management of Iberia’s parent company, International Airline Group (IAG), accepted Tudela’s proposals, which reduce the number of job cuts to 3,141 from 3,807, some 19 percent of Iberia’s workforce. Severance pay would be raised to 35 days’ wages for every year worked from the proposal of the legal minimum of 20 days. Tudela suggested that Iberia avail itself of a labor-reduction plan (ERE) filed in 2001 that is still valid and includes early retirement and voluntary redundancy packages.

The stance of the pilots’ union in response to Tudela’s proposals is still not clear

Tudela also recommended wage cuts of seven percent for ground staff and 14 percent for cabin crew and pilots, compared with reductions sought by Iberia’s management of between 25 and 35 percent, and a wage freeze through to 2015.

The stance of the airline pilots’ union Sepla in response to Tudela’s proposals is still not clear. Sepla chairman Justo Peral said the union’s statutes require a period of 15 days to call an assembly to vote on the compromise deal.

Cabin crew and ground staff held a five-day stoppage last month to protest the layoffs and were joined by the carrier’s pilots in another five-day strike last week. Labor unions had called a further five-day stoppage for the period March 18-22.

Fe de errores

This article was corrected at 8pm CET to restate the percentage of Iberia's workforce to be affected by the proposed job cuts. The original proposal of 3,807 redundancies constitutes some 19 percent of the workforce, and not the new proposal by the mediator of 3,141 layoffs.