Restructuring Iberia eyes labour deals by year end

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Iberia appears to be getting closer to securing much-needed labour deals with its unions on its restructuring as it battles to reach new agreements by the end of this year.

The Spanish carrier has already cut capacity and jobs under a major restructuring begun early this year aimed at returning the airline to profitability. The Oneworld carrier is looking to secure new labour deals on productivity by the end of this year in a bid to set the foundations for it to return to future growth.

“Iberia needs to be transformed via agreements," airline chief executive Luis Gallego told local paper El Economista in an interview. "Our first objective is to reach a global agreement with all unions."

He confirms that negotiations with the SEPLA pilots union had been nearing a breakthrough just before the summer. "Now we are working again in trying to reach an agreement with them," he says. Gallego adds that talks within cabin crew unions are progressing well. "We all understand an agreement is needed, " he says, adding a productivity agreement with cabin crew unions is "getting closer”.

The airline also continues to negotiate productivity measures with ground handling staff. Under its restructuring plan Iberia is reviewing which of the handling licences it currently holds in Spain - many of which are now due for renewal - it can profitability retain. "If we are competitive, we will participate in the tender process in the airports where we do the handling now with the intention of winning," says Gallego.