IAG accepts mediator proposal in Iberia labor dispute

MADRID Sun Mar 10, 2013 4:54pm EDT

1 of 6. A man holds a banner during an Iberia workers strike at Terminal 1 of Barcelona's airport, March 8, 2013.

Credit: Reuters/Albert Gea

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MADRID (Reuters) - IAG airline holding company (ICAG.MC) (ICAG.L) has accepted a government-appointed mediator's compromise proposal to end a labor conflict over mass layoffs at Spanish flagship airline Iberia, the company said on Sunday.

"The board has decided to accept the proposal," the company said in a statement. International Airlines Group, or IAG, is the holding company for Iberia and British Airways.

The mediator proposed Iberia lay off 3,141 workers, instead of the 3,807 the airline had planned to let go, with severance pay of 35 days per year worked, rather than 20.

The unions have not said yet whether they accept the proposal and it was not immediately possible to reach union representatives on Sunday. Union workers had previously rejected a company offer to soften its initial plan for firing staff.

The mediator is scheduled to meet with worker representatives on Monday.

Iberia workers went on strike February 18-22 and March 4-8 and are planning a third one-week strike for March 18-22. They have also threatened to strike again during Easter week.

Struggling to compete with low-cost competitors, loss-making Iberia also had also announced plans for 20 percent salary cuts for its remaining 16,000 workers. The mediator has proposed 15 percent reductions in salaries.

During the two week-long strikes by pilots, air stewards and ground staff, Iberia canceled about 10 percent of flights to the United States and Latin America and 50 percent of flights within Spain.

The company has said it was losing 3 million euros a day during the strikes.

(Reporting by Jose Elias Rodriguez; Writing by Fiona Ortiz; editing by Sofina Mirza-Reid)

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