Feb. 22 - Workers from Spanish airline Iberia held the fifth day of protests over job cuts at Madrid's Barajas airport. Iberia and labour unions have agreed to the government's call to bring in an independent mediator to facilitate talks. Hayley Platt reports
Taking their protest to the roads. Workers from Iberia travelled to Madrid's airport on the fifth consecutive day of strikes over job cuts. The Spanish airline is planning to axe some 3,800 jobs and slash wages as part of a restructuring program. Around 1,000 workers protested on Friday, at the end of the first of three planned week-long strikes. (SOUNDBITE) (Spanish) ANONYMOUS IBERIA WORKER SAYING: "Those of us who are 55, 58 years old...if we get sacked we will be on the streets with 20 days' pay for every year worked, we will not be able to re-enter the job market, so we're asking for justice." Iberia merged with British Airways in 2011 to form International Airlines Group (IAG). But its budget service Iberia Express has struggled to compete with the likes of Ryanair and Easyjet during the economic downturn. Iberia says the cuts are necessary for its survival. The unions call them unfair. (SOUNDBITE) (Spanish) CHEMA PEREZ, UGT UNION REPRESENTATIVE, SAYING: "We don't want our pay cut or to lose our benefits which we have earned over the years through various agreements, so that in two years we all get fired and the company gets closed down." This strike is just the latest in a string of disputes that have disrupted the travel plans of thousands of passengers. Iberia and the unions have now agreed to the government call for them to try and resolve matters using mediation. Politicians are worried about the impact the job cuts would have on Spain's record high unemployment, and they fear the strikes will damage its vital tourist industry. But the head of Spain's largest union, UGT, said they won't suspend the strikes unless Iberia calls off the job cuts, and they've got more week long strikes planned.