Iberia works to head off looming strikes

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Iberia will begin negotiations with the 17 trade unions representing its workforce on 28 and 29 November as the cash-strapped carrier attempts to head off a looming round of co-ordinated strikes.

Stoppages could begin on 14 December if there is no agreement between the two sides. Parent company International Airlines Group unveiled the wide-ranging restructuring programme on 9 November in a bid to stem losses at Iberia. It includes 4,500 job cuts, around 22% of its workforce, and downsizing its fleet by 25 aircraft.

But unions are bristling at the imposition of job losses and are threatening co-ordinated action, The first strike is planned for 14 December, with a further multi-day stoppage between 17-21 December.

Iberia says it is willing to listen to other suggestions of ways to return the airline to profitability, but insists it is sticking to its deadline of 31 January, 2013 to reach agreement.