HomeAir LinePeace in Iberia: the 8,000 handling employees go to an IAG company...

Peace in Iberia: the 8,000 handling employees go to an IAG company and there will be 1,727 incentivized resignations

The creation of a new ground services operator avoids the subrogation of a large part of the workforce to other companies

Iberia Express planes attended by Iberia Airport Services staff at Madrid-Barajas airport.Claudio Alvarez

Agreement in extremis between the unions and Iberia to close the crisis handling (ground handling services). The airline will avoid new strikes and the departure, via subrogation, of thousands of workers after UGT, CC OO and USO, in the inter-center committee, have voted in favor of the proposal that had been on the table since mid-January: the creation of a company handling with a new brand, 100% owned by IAG and with a majority of Iberia itself. The 8,000 Iberia Airport Services workers will end up there. Its main activity will also be the provision of ground handling services to both third-party airlines and the fleet of IAG brands. Iberia has also offered an employment stability plan.

The president of the airline, Fernando Candela, has valued an agreement with the unions that will allow “to build a sustainable future together.” Iberia Airport Services was no longer, in the opinion of the parent company. From his point of view, “an opportunity has been generated where there was a crisis.” The new company of handling “It guarantees the viability and competitiveness of the business and also ensures that Iberia workers continue to develop professionally and personally within the IAG group. It is a responsible agreement with which we all win and in which, hand in hand with the workers, we take a historic step forward in the business of handling in Spain,” the executive concluded.

UGT sources explained that the final solution to more than three months of tension was proposed by the Government, which mediated between the parties in December.

This Friday was the final day to end the conflict. The company had assured, before transcending the pact, that it would not have more time to inform Aena if it decided to pay attention to the fleet of the different IAG brands with its own personnel (autohandling), for which he saw it necessary to create the new operator, or he would do so by hiring external companies. The urgency of the decision affected Iberia Airport Services employees at the Bilbao, Malaga and Alicante airports.

These three are part of the group of eight of the largest airports in the Aena network in which Iberia lost, last September, its licenses to offer the handling to third airlines. The first transfers of licenses took place at the three airports mentioned, while the rest are Barcelona-El Prat, Palma de Mallorca, Ibiza, Tenerife South and Gran Canaria. The company has more than 3,000 employees in these infrastructures. handlingof which a large part were destined to jump to other operators that had won licenses, through the figure of subrogation, if Iberia did not opt ​​for the autohandling.

The IAG company had given an ultimatum to the unions to accept its plan to maintain employment by working for itself, as allowed by airport regulations, and for Vueling, Level, British Airways and Aer Lingus, all of them from the IAG group. . The project had been rejected time and again by CC OO, UGT and USO, which demanded a solution for the 3,000 employees of the eight lost airports and not for the entire workforce. Finally, they all move to the new brand and do so while maintaining the conditions of the Iberia Airport Services agreement, thereby preserving their rights. This includes progression and seniority systems; free and discounted tickets; night and holiday bonuses; the Christmas festive plan; additional vacations based on seniority, or flexible remuneration plans, among other achievements.

In addition, the offer of 1,727 incentivized redundancies remains in place until December 31, 2026, with early retirements starting at age 56 and compensation for those of younger age who submit to the adjustment voluntarily. Iberia insists that the departures will be covered, gradually, with new hires. And the thing is, the new company handling It has a vocation to go to Europe and Latin America.

The project, ultimately, seeks to cut salary costs with the departure of veterans and the entry of new personnel. This improvement in the cost structure was key for the company once it had lost the synergies offered by being able to work for 90 other airlines throughout the country.

Deadline

The negotiations between Iberia and the unions had already exhausted all possible extensions. Back at the dialogue table, after a four-day strike around the Three Kings’ holiday, the parties have requested two deadline extensions, by Aena, in search of an agreement prior to Iberia notifying the airport manager of its decision on who will attend to their planes on the tarmac.

This uncertainty, which has affected 10% of operations in the airport network, has generated difficulties in the transfer of licenses and the launch of new services. After the contest failed by Aena on September 26, Iberia won permits to serve third airlines in 29 airports (it changes eight large ones for Almería, Murcia, Zaragoza, Valladolid, Burgos, Huesca, Logroño and Salamanca); the Belgian Aviapartner took 15; Groundforce took 12 of the best network spots, and Scotland’s Menzies will work on seven.

Iberia has insisted to its workers that its new position in the transportation market handling It was necessary to create a new company “endowed with sufficient competitiveness and that guarantees the profitability required by the group under fair market price conditions, in order to serve all IAG companies.” The company is now talking about an agreement that guarantees a sustainable, competitive and profitable future for the activity of the handling. Licensed in 29 airports to work for third parties and the decision to provide the autohandling In the eight positions lost, the new IAG company will continue to have a presence throughout the Aena network.

The agreement includes the creation of a center of excellence for vocational training, located at the Madrid headquarters of La Muñoza, next to the Barajas airport.

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