Iberia A340-600. By Rob Finlayson

Iberia (IB) pilots, represented by the Sepla union, announced they intend to strike for 30 days to protest the Spanish airline’s new low-cost airline, Iberia Express (I2), which launched operations March 25 (ATW Daily News, March 26).

Pilots will walk out every Monday and Friday between April 9 and July 20, Sepla said.

The pilot union has already held 12 days of strikes since December and called off a further 24 days of planned industrial action after agreeing to talks organized by a government-approved mediator (ATW Daily News, March 14). But negotiations broke down on Sunday, the same day as I2’s first flight.

IB said it “condemns the irresponsible and uncompromising position of the Sepla pilots union” and will ask the union to continue the negotiations in a bid to avert a strike, “which by any reckoning is unjustified, damaging and disproportionate.”

Sepla refused the mediator’s proposals—which included IB’s co-pilots taking unpaid leave of absence to work as captains for I2 with the possibility of returning to the parent airline and other employment guarantees, IB said, stressing it was “prepared to accept” all these proposals.