Iberia proposals aim to avert indefinite strike

Proposals aim to avert indefinite strike

Image of Iberia and BA Aircraft. Credit: Fasttailwind/Shutterstock.com

With the real threat of yet more strikes and travel disruption looming, Iberia has finally agreed to worker incentives.

Iberia, the Spanish airline, has yielded to pressure and agreed to create a ground services company (handling) to avoid an impending indefinite strike which had been scheduled to start on January 26.

The move comes after intense negotiations with the UGT and CCOO unions, following a strike over the Three Kings weekend.

Handling company proposal

Iberia’s proposal entails the establishment of a ground services company fully owned by International Airlines Group (IAG), Iberia’s parent company.

This move aims to ensure that all workers maintain their existing company agreements, safeguarding their rights.

In return for preserving these agreements, Iberia has put forth a viability plan for the new company that involves early retirement and incentivised sick leave options for 1,727 workers.

This initiative will be in effect until December 31, 2026. Currently, Iberia Airport Services, the handling company’s operator, employs approximately 8,000 workers.

Union stance and airport losses

Despite losing the management of ground services in eight major Spanish airports, except Barajas, during a contest held by Aena in September, the unions are adamant that handling workers remain under Iberia’s purview.

The affected airports include Bilbao, Malaga, Alicante, Palma de Mallorca, Ibiza, Barcelona, Las Palmas, and Tenerife South.

Preservation of workers’ rights

Iberia’s approach, with the backing of  International Airlines Group (IAG), aims to create a subsidiary that guarantees the retention of workers’ existing rights and agreements.

By maintaining full ownership within the IAG group, which includes Iberia, British Airways, Vueling, Aer Lingus and Level, the company can ensure that all employees remain under the umbrella of their current company agreement.

This development addresses the concerns raised by the unions regarding the fate of handling employees in the wake of the airport service management change.

While it may necessitate the departure of some workers through early retirement or incentivised sick leave, it ultimately seeks to safeguard the interests and job security of the majority.

Averting an indefinite strike

It is hoped that this compromise between Iberia and the unions may pave the way for a resolution, averting significant disruptions to air travel and ensuring the ongoing stability of ground services for the airline.

Iberia’s decision to create a handling company under the IAG umbrella, while offering worker incentives and maintaining their existing agreements, is a strategic move aimed at addressing union concerns and preventing an impending strike.

It represents a collaborative effort to secure the future of Iberia’s ground services workforce, even in the face of recent losses in airport contracts.

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Written by

John Ensor

Originally from Doncaster, Yorkshire, John now lives in Galicia, Northern Spain with his wife Nina. He is passionate about news, music, cycling and animals.