Iberia flights hit by second stoppage

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A second round of strike action at Iberia has begun this morning by unions protesting the 3,800 job cuts planned by the Spanish carrier.

The five day strike began at midnight on 3 March and this time includes pilots in addition to the ground and cabin staff that carried out a stoppage at the carrier last month. It is the second of three five-day strikes called by the unions in response to the airline's deep restructuring plans.

A spokesman for Iberia says it will again operate around 60% of its flight schedule under minimum service levels guaranteed by Spanish labour law. He adds that all 40,000 passengers impacted by the strike have new arrangements in place; 38,000 of these have been rebooked on alternative flights and the remainder have been refunded after choosing not to travel.

Iberia, which has just disclosed a €351 million ($461 million) operating loss for 2012, has outlined plans to cut capacity and staff levels in a bid to restore profitability. In February it issued notice of its plan to lay off 3,800 staff. Negotiations continue, but these cuts are due to take effect on 15 March.

Efforts continue to break the deadlock, including agreeing to a non-binding mediator. The Iberia spokesman says the carrier expects to receive the mediator's non-binding proposals in the next few days.