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Iberia strike protests turn violent

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Airline reschedules most of the affected passengers

Demonstrations have taken place at airports across Spain as employees at Iberia begin 15 days of strikes against plans to sack more than 3800 staff and cut salaries. The demonstrations turned violent at Madrid’s international airport as protesters clashed with police.
Iberia says that the strike, which is now into its second day, will result in more than 1200 flight cancellations over the coming three weeks. This includes 236 on Monday. The action is expected to cost both the airline and the struggling Spanish economy millions of euros in lost business.
However, Iberia has managed to reschedule most of the affected passengers on other flights or returned their money. It reports that it has “found seats on other flights for the large majority of customers affected by the strike called for 18-22 February. Of the total of approximately 70,000 people with tickets on cancelled flights, Iberia has found seats on other flights for about 60,000 of them, or 85%. The remaining 10,000 will get full refunds.”
Union members made an 8 km march around the airport in Madrid on Monday. “Nobody is safe from being sacked,” Elias Gonzalez, a maintenance supervisor who has worked for Iberia for 27 years, told Reuters. “There was an initial deal with the company when the merger with the British was agreed, but now there is disagreement.”
Iberia merged with British Airways in 2011 to create the International Airlines Group. The February 18-22 strike coincides with school holidays in the UK, Spain’s biggest market for tourists.
Reuters / Take-Off
[pictured: Iberia aircraft at Madrid Terminal 4; photo courtesy oneworld]

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