Iberia A320

Iberia (IB) is facing a further 24 days of industrial action by its pilots represented by the Spanish airline pilots union SEPLA to protest the launch of Iberia Express, the carrier’s new subsidiary for short- and medium-haul flights (ATW Daily News, Feb. 23). 

“The pilots have decided to increase the number of strike days due to the company’s refusal to negotiate,” SEPLA said in a statement.

IB Express, which is scheduled to launch March 25 with four Airbus A320s, is part of IB’s efforts to bring the company back to profitability (ATW Daily News, Oct. 7, 2011).

The new strike dates are in March, April and May and include some of the country’s major holiday breaks such as Easter.

IB pilots have already staged 12 days of strikes since December. Last week IB parent company International Consolidated Airlines Group (IAG) said each strike day costs the airline €3 million ($3.96 million) (ATW Daily News, March 1).

One of the unions representing cabin crew, STAVLA, said it would join the pilots in their industrial action.

IB said it considers the strike call by SEPLA “an intolerable challenge to the company and to Spanish society at large,” which threatened “Spain's reputation for credibility and solvency.”

It said it intends to take “all lawful measures to oppose this inappropriate and unjustified action, as well as the unlawful behavior of some pilots” and asked pilots “and particularly those who do not support the union's suicidal position, to abort this strike and return to the table to negotiate a new collective bargaining agreement.”

IB will ask the government to implement the decree on minimum services during the next strike days, as it did with past strikes.