Labor & Workforce

Union asks EU Commission to block IAG takeover of Air Europa

London, Jun 11 (efe-epa).- British and Irish trade union Unite on Thursday reiterated calls for the European Commission to block IAG’s acquisition of Air Europa at a time when thousands of staff face job losses or pay cuts amid the coronavirus pandemic.

Unite confirmed it had been in touch with the EC’s head of competition, Margrethe Vestager, as part of its bid to prevent the 1-billion-euro ($1.1bn) takeover of the Spanish airline by IAG, which owns Iberia and British Airways.

“British Airways is the only company proposing to fire all its 42,000 staff and re-hire those that survive on inferior terms and conditions of employment,” the union said in a statement.

“Unite General Secretary Len McCluskey has called BA a ‘cash cow’ for its owners and called for its allocation of lucrative landing slots to be reviewed.”

The sweeping travel restrictions in place across Europe have taken a considerable toll on the continent’s airline companies.

German company Lufthansa warned it would have to cut some 22,000 jobs to weather the financial disruption brought along with the coronavirus lockdowns.

Michael Niggemann, head of the company’s labor policies, said: “Without a significant reduction in personnel costs during the crisis, we will miss the opportunity of a better restart from the crisis and risk the Lufthansa group emerging from the crisis significantly weakened.”

The news came despite a recent 9-billion-euro bailout agreement with the German government.

Half of the jobs at risk of being cut are in Germany, the airline said, adding that it expected 100 of its planes to remain on the tarmac even after coronavirus restrictions are lifted.

With countries across the EU slowly lifting internal travel restrictions — with international travel set to be addressed from 1 July — the number of online searches for flights has started to rise again.

In Spain, SkyScanner, a flight search engine, said reservations had gone up 143 percent and that searches had increased by 66 percent. EFE-EPA

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