TRAVEL disruption is expected over the King’s Day weekend as ground staff from Spanish airline Iberia go on strike. 

The former flag carrier has already cancelled 444 flights over the period of the stoppages, which will run from January 5 to 8. 

The cancellations will affect 45,641 passengers, according to Spanish press reports, with 270 cancelled flights at Iberia, 64 at Iberia Express, and 110 at Air Nostrum. 

The conflict began back in September when Iberia lost its licences to provide ground handling services in eight Spanish airports, including Barcelona, Malaga, Alicante and Gran Canaria. 

Under the terms of their collective agreements, these Iberia ground staff will have to be transferred to the companies who successfully won the licences. 

These workers fear, however, that they will lose their current salaries and other working conditions and are calling instead for Iberia to resort to ‘autohandling’ – i.e. using an internal company to offer these services. 

Despite talks between the company and the CCOO, UGT and USO unions, no agreement was reached and stoppages were called. 

What can I do if my flight is cancelled? 

According to a message on the Iberia website, the airline has ‘relaxed’ its conditions for journey changes and refunds for anyone affected by the strike action. 

The airline states that it will send passengers updates about their trips via its Iberia conecta service, and that anyone who has booked a flight for the affected dates can request either a date change or a refund. 

Customers whose flights are not directly affected by the strike can also change the date of their trip or request a voucher for future travel, the airline adds. 

Iberia also recommends that passengers arrive earlier than usual at airports due to the possible delays that will be caused by the stoppages. 

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