By Euro Weekly News Media • 19 February 2013 • 9:13
Police in riot gear had to forcibly remove protesters at Barajas airport, Madrid, on Monday. The ground staff and cabin crews of Iberia started a series of five one day stoppages this week in protest against the company’s plan to lay off 3,800 workers.
Around 415 flights have been cancelled this week affecting other companies such as Vueling, Iberia Express and Air Nostrum who all rely on Iberia for handling services, affecting a further 807 flights.
There were between 3,000 and 4,000 protesters who blocked access to Barajas in the morning and some then rushed into Terminal 4 shouting ‘Iberia is not for sale.’ The staff working at the check in counters had to leave their posts causing passengers to form long queues in an attempt to get boarding passes from machines.
The situation was eventually returned to control by 2pm and staff could return to their positions.
Further stoppages are planned for the periods March 4-8 and March 18-22.
Barcelona’s El Prat airport was also heavily policed, with long lines forming at Iberia and Vueling counters, mostly to obtain refunds for cancelled flights or alternative flights.
Around 50 striking Iberia workers were present at Barcelona airport. Some passengers complained that had not been informed that their flights had been cancelled. Protestors were also at other airports across Spain and Labour unions claimed 100 per cent turn out by strikers who were not instructed to provide even minimum services.
The International Airlines Group (IAG) claims that 19 per cent of the Iberia workworce have been laid off in a bid to restore the company’s profitability.
IAG also plans to reduce Iberia’s flight capacity by 15 percent this year and wants employees to accept wage cuts.
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