Mass job losses feared at Iberia on Friday - union sources

MADRID Wed Nov 7, 2012 8:01am EST

MADRID Nov 7 (Reuters) - A restructuring plan that could see up to 7,000 job losses will be revealed by Spanish airline Iberia at a meeting with labour unions on Friday, union sources said on Wednesday.

Business at Iberia, part of International Airlines Group together with British Airways, has been hit by recession and high unemployment in Spain, which remains at the centre of the euro zone sovereign debt crisis.

"We have been summoned for Friday and the only thing we know is that they want to announce a massive staff layoff plan," said a spokesman at CTA, the union for land-staff personnel for Iberia, which has some 20,000 employees.

Unions have been expecting layoffs for months of between 4,000 and 7,000 workers due to the ongoing effects of Spain's recession and the progressive shifting of its short to medium distance flight routes to its low cost carrier Iberia Express.

In the first half of the year, Iberia reported an operating net loss of 263 million euros ($336.68 million). Iberia executives have said in the past they would announce a restructuring plan after the summer.

Iberia did not want to make any official comment but union sources said the company's board would meet on Wednesday to analyse both staff layoff plans and nine-month results.

"It's possible that some information could be leaked during this meeting," a union source said.

Iberia's parent IAG is due to present nine-month results and host an investor's day in London on Friday, which is a bank holiday in Madrid. ($1 = 0.7812 euros)