Tuesday, 14 May 2013

Iberia, the CGT & Unite: Fighting Redundancies

THREE years ago members of the Spanish ('anarcho-syndicalist') CGT trade union at Iberia in Madrid contacted Northern Voices, and through us got the Bury branch secretary of Unite to fix up a meeting with the regional officers of Unite at their office at Salford Quays and with the Unite union's representatives at Manchester Airport.  At that time the CGT (General Confederation of Labour) and its members were concerned about the consequences of the then forthcoming merger between British Airways and Iberia:  the desire was to exchange information over wages and conditions etc. in the hope of co-operation between labour in both countries.  In the end two representatives of the CGT from Madrid came over and held talks with representatives of Unite the Union, and later representatives from Manchester went to Spain.

Recently the secretary of Bury Unite Branch was contacted by Carlos Figueroa from the Spanish CGT asking for information regarding any developments or signs of activity with regard to British Airways because the situation for the workers at Iberia had deteriorated somewhat of late.  Last Saturday, the Financial Times reported that 'International Airlines Group's [IAG] pre-tax loss widened to 670 million euros in the first quarter, as more restructuring costs were revealed yesterday (last Friday) at Iberia, its Spanish unit'.  IAG was formed in 2011 from the merger of British Airways and Iberia: it is now reporting 'operating losses at both its subsidiaries', and the group's results fell below analysts expectations.  Yet, Willie Walsh, the group's chief executive, described IAG's first-quarter performance as 'encouraging'.

Mr. Walsh said:
'These results are encouraging, with underlying revenue strength in strategic markets' but he added 'while the first step towards restructuring Iberia has been taken, there is more work to be done.'

The Financial Times reports:
'IAG recorded 311 million euro exceptional items in the first quarter relating to the restructuring of Iberia, which had been running up losses as it struggled to compete with more nimble competitors.'

This means that the group has accepted a Spanish government mediator's proposal that Iberia cut 3,300 instead of 4,500 that the bosses had originally planned to make redundant in November.  IAG's plan to cut the workforce by 22% had run into strong opposition from the Spanish trade unions, which had launched 10 days of strikes in the first quarter of the year.  Never-the-less, Mr Walsh said that he intended to pay shareholders a dividend in the future.

1 comment:

Carlos Figueroa said...

Thank you brian! Well done. Carlos Beltran just retired a few days ago! 58 years old!
Carlos figueroa