* Unions 'largely support' mediator's proposal
* Unions' final decision could be made on Wednesday
MADRID, March 11 Spanish airline Iberia and its
workers moved closer to agreement on mass job cuts on Monday
after owner IAG, which also owns British Airways,
accepted a compromise proposal put forward by a
Unions also said they were largely in favour of the
proposal, which would save the jobs of 666 workers and increase
redundancy payouts for others, but still needed to make a formal
"The company and a large majority in the unions were in
favour of the proposal but we have to pass it to our
decision-making committee," a spokesman for labour union UGT
said on Monday after a meeting with mediator Gregorio Tudela, a
professor at Madrid's Autonomous University.
Tudela has proposed reducing job losses to 3,141 and paying
redundancy compensation equating to 35 days pay for every year
worked instead of 20.
Worker representatives will meet with the mediator again on
Wednesday, when they must decide whether to back the proposal.
The loss-making carrier has had to cancel hundreds of daily
flights in recent weeks due to worker strikes over the original
plans to scrap 3,807 jobs, a move which management says is
essential if the airline is to survive.
But owner International Consolidated Airlines Group (IAG)
said on Sunday it has now agreed to the mediator's compromise
proposals to stop further strike action, which has already cost
the firm millions of euros.
Spain's Public Works Minister, Ana Pastor, said she expected
unions and the company to now work together and move "in the
"I think there could finally be an agreement because the
airline sector and particularly Iberia are very important for
the future of our country, firstly for workers but also for our
airports, tourism in Spain and connections with Latin America,"
Pastor said as she arrived for a meeting in Brussels.
Iberia had already softened its original plan for job cuts
but worker representatives had rejected the overture and gone
ahead with strike action.
Pilots, flight stewards and ground crew went on two five-day
strikes, between Feb. 18 and 22 and March 4 and 8, and are
planning a third between March 18 and 22. They have also
threatened to strike again during Easter week.
The company loses 3 million euros ($3.9 million) every day
Iberia workers strike, Chief Executive Willie Walsh has said.