Iberia and its striking unions have agreed to bring in a mediator to help resolve the industrial dispute which sees the stoppage hitting operations at the Spanish carrier enter a fifth day.
Unions representing cabin crew and ground staff at Iberia began the first of three five-day strikes on 18 February in protest at plans for deep restructuring cuts at the airline. The first stoppage finishes today, but further five-day strikes - which pilots will also take part in - are planned for 4 March and 18 March.
Both sides though have now agreed to a Government move to appoint a mediator to help reach a breakthrough. The strikes though remain in place and Iberia continues to work through its plan to cut more than 3,800 positions. "These are parallel negotiations," explains an Iberia spokeswoman, noting the process is non-binding.
The Spanish carrier is looking to push through major cuts as part of efforts to stem losses, particularly on short-haul. After unions rejected its initial proposal to cut over 3,100 jobs, Iberia said deeper cuts impacting 3,800 would be needed. It says less jobs will go if a deal on improved productivity can be reached.
Under minimum service level regulations Iberia has been able to operate 415 flights during the strike period, comprising 90% of it long-haul schedule, 61% of its medium-haul flights and just under half its short-haul services.