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Iberia cancels nearly 1,300 flights ahead of strikes

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(Globalpost/GlobalPost)

Madrid, Feb 26 (EFE).- The Iberia Group said Tuesday it would cancel nearly 1,300 flights scheduled for March 4-8 due to the strike called by unions in Spain to protest the airline's plans to eliminate 3,807 positions as part of a restructuring.

Iberia is cancelling 431 flights, while Iberia Express will cancel 100 flights, Vueling will scrap 316 flights and Air Nostrum will cancel 434 flights, bringing total cancellations to 1,281.

Iberia is cancelling 39 percent of its regular service, while Iberia Express is scrapping about 28 percent of its scheduled flights.

The flights are being cancelled because the carriers will not be able to rely on workers from the Iberia Airport Services division.

Iberia provides ground services to about 120 airlines operating out of Spanish airports.

The airline's unions have called 15 24-hour strikes to protest the restructuring plan and job cuts.

The first five strikes were staged last week and work stoppages are scheduled for March 4-8 and March 18-22.

Ground workers will be hit the hardest by the layoffs, with about 2,640 affected, followed by cabin crews, with about 760 losing their jobs, and pilots, who would see their numbers reduced by about 320, union representatives said earlier this month.

The jobs would be eliminated between March 14 and Dec. 31, union representatives said.

The carrier initially proposed the elimination of 4,500 jobs due to mounting losses.

London-based International Airlines Group is the parent company of British Airways, Iberia and bmi.

Iberia lost more than 850 million euros ($1.14 billion) between 2008 and September 2012.

http://www.globalpost.com/dispatch/news/agencia-efe/130226/iberia-cancels-nearly-1300-flights-ahead-strikes