British Airways staff are to hold a lunchtime demonstration tomorrow (Wednesday) in a show of solidarity for colleagues on strike at sister company Iberia.
Workers at the Spanish carrier started a second week-long walk-out yesterday in protest against job cuts imposed by Iberia in an effort to return the airline into profit. Iberia is owned by BA-parent International Airlines Group.
Strikes took place in Spain on February 18-22, are due to continue this week and on March 18-22 March.
The Iberia ground staff and cabin crew are protesting against plans to cut 4,500 jobs, 23% of the airline’s total workforce.
A joint negotiated plan with the unions which could have ended the dispute was “scuppered” at the last minute by IAG’s management team led by chief executive Willie Walsh, the Unite union claimed.
Unite national officer Oliver Richardson said: “BA staff are going to be showing their dignified and peaceful support for their colleagues at Iberia.
“The Spanish workers are defending their jobs and their airline from an unacceptable attack. BA cabin crew know only too well the pain and the struggle the Spanish workforce are having to endure.”
He added: “The situation at Iberia bears an uncanny resemblance to the British Airways cabin crew dispute during the spring and early summer of 2010. Even the language being used by IAG is almost identical to the rhetoric of that dispute.
“Cabin crew here in the UK are at a loss to understand why the senior management team at IAG is allowing history to repeat itself.
“IAG should learn the lessons of the BA cabin crew dispute and take the short-cut to the negotiating table and avoid this unnecessary conflict.”
Unite general secretary Len McLuskey added: “If Willie Walsh thinks British Airways staff will keep quiet while he attacks their colleagues in Iberia he is wrong.
“We all support those threatened by Walsh’s reckless plans. The message from Britain to IAG is clear: ‘We are all Iberia’.”
International Transport Workers’ Federation civil aviation secretary Gabriel Mocho said: “IAG is more than just any one airline, it is a community of workers. They have made it plain that they are all in this together.
“They will all stand up for the threatened staff and for a successful Iberia and British Airways.”
He continued: “We are pleased to see that even the conservative Spanish government, a shareholder in IAG, is showing its alarm over the company’s reckless plans, which tear up the proposals negotiated by the Spanish unions for phased cost cutting and redundancies.”
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