Iberia and its ground workers yesterday concluded the first phase of a labor dispute that has resulted in more than 45,000 passengers affected by the cancellation of 444 flights during the strikes on January 5, 6, 7 and 8. Although both the company and the unions agreed to continue talking in the coming days, neither party shows signs of having moved from the position that confronts them. In fact, the representatives of CCOO and UGT have already warned that they can begin the procedures as soon as tomorrow to carry out a strike call that involves more groups of ground personnel and that is indefinite.

“In the event that there is no agreement, also extending the call to areas such as maintenance or corporate, there would be an indefinite strike starting on January 26,” the union representatives of CCOO and UGT announced yesterday. If they comply with this warning, the strikes would occur when Madrid hosts Fitur, the largest tourism fair in the world, with more than 150,000 visitors. The Barajas airport, the airline’s main airport, would not yet be the only one affected by a conflict that has to do with the loss of contracts in September of last year to provide handling services at eight airports, none of them in Madrid.

In fact, Iberia must transfer ground handling services in Barcelona, ​​Mallorca, Malaga, Alicante, Gran Canaria, Tenerife South, Ibiza and Bilbao to other operators. And, once the placement of passengers on alternative flights was resolved, the biggest problems focused on baggage management, increasing in three of those where this service must be transferred: Barcelona, ​​Bilbao and Gran Canaria. Although the company indicates that the percentage of affected luggage is low if it is taken into account that in the four days of strike it has transported more than 140,000 suitcases, only at the Gran Canaria airport the immobilized luggage exceeded 4,500 pieces at midday today. , which has forced the company to rent a hangar for storage, as CCOO sources have informed EFE.

Iberia has appealed to the courts against the Aena contest by which it lost the ground services of eight airports to companies such as Globalia or Menzies in a gesture with which it wants to demonstrate to its staff its interest in maintaining an increasingly important business area. more competitive. But the unions know that this process can take years and fear that, once this activity is restructured, the company has no intention of resuming it.

Altogether, Iberia Airport Services has 8,000 employees and in the meantime, nearly 3,000 workers would have to join the staff of the companies that have won the competitions. The airline indicates that its jobs and working conditions are protected by the sectoral agreement and that there is no reason for the protest.

But the workers understand that their new employers are not obliged to respect the rights recognized by Iberia beyond those admitted by the sector. For this reason, they demand that the International Airlines Group (IAG, the company that owns Iberia along with other airlines) agree with them to dispense with the services of the winning companies and provide this service to itself in addition to other companies in the group such as Vueling. , British Airways, Aer Lingus and Level. The proposal is far from the profitability parameters managed by Iberia and which are subject to the demands of IAG, directed precisely by the airline’s former president, Luis Gallego. The company claims that providing this service reduces its efficiency and it is cheaper to serve it with the winners.