Iberia Pilots Continue Strike for 2nd Day

Pilots at Spanish airline Iberia said they will continue their strike for a second day Tuesday and that the company offered them nothing new at their latest meeting.

In a news release, the pilots union known as SEPLA said Spain's largest airline did not send top officials to a meeting late Monday and "refused to budge in its positions."

On Monday, Iberia had said it would deliver a document at the meeting that guaranteed in writing the jobs of all its pilots.

Iberia was forced to cancel 220 flights Monday and an average of 240 a day would be scrapped for the rest of the week. Spain's flagship carrier has calculated that the stoppage will cost Iberia euro35 million (US$44.7 million) in lost revenue.

Pilots fear Iberia's investment in CATair, a new low-cost airline, will lead to job cuts and are demanding guarantees that their jobs are safe. Iberia denies it plans job cuts. Iberia plans to launch CATair in October.

According to various Spanish newspaper reports, Spanish government officials Monday were critical of the Iberia pilots' strike. Newspaper El Mundo quoted Finance Minister Pedro Solbes as saying Sepla's position was "difficult to understand."

The Spanish Industry Ministry mediated in unsuccessful talks over the weekend to head off the strike.

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