Iberia dispute escalates

Iberia's dispute excalates
The dispute over Iberia Express excalates

Spanish airline Iberia has announced that they are to take legal action against two trade unions as the dispute with staff escalates.

Two pilots were sacked by the airline last week as they had “failed to meet their employment obligations” after refusing to fly their scheduled routes without providing an acceptable reason.

In a statement regarding the dismissals the airline said “The pilots’ behaviour goes against what is outlined in the workers’ statute and the company’s own collective bargaining agreements.”

The dispute began over the launch of a new budget airline, Iberia Express, created to provide budget flights between Spanish airports but pilots claim the salaries offered by the carrier are too low fearing their jobs may be at risk from new, lower paid pilots.

Iberia claims the strikes, which are to continue every Monday and Friday until July 20th, are causing a loss of around three million euros per day.

Two unions representing the pilots, Sepla, and the smaller Stavia, are the targets of Iberias action, which was lodged with the High Court last week, on the grounds that the work stoppages are illegal and are of serious detriment to the business.

Iberia alleges that the strikes, which began in December, are obstructing Iberia’s freedom under the constitution, and  are “abusive” as they usually coincide with public holidays and the start of the summer season causing maximum disruption.

The airline is also demanding damages from the unions for losses incurred from previous strikes.