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Spain's Iberia workers to strike over job cuts

Staff at Spanish airline Iberia will strike for 15 days in February and March to protest plans to shed workers, a union official said Wednesday.

Ground staff and cabin crew will strike from February 18-22, from March 4-8 and again from March 18-22, said Jose Manuel Perez, an official with the UGT union.

The strikes were called after weeks of talks with the company's management ended without an agreement, he added.

Airline staff cancelled six days of strikes in December so that the talks could continue and to spare passengers disruption over the Christmas holiday period.

Loss-making Iberia last week proposed cutting 3,147 jobs -- or 16 percent of the workforce -- alongside salary reductions of between 11 and 23 percent.

The proposal was not as tough as the initial plan announced in November to axe 4,500 jobs and impose salary cuts of between 25 and 35 percent.

International Airlines Group, the parent company of British Airways and Iberia, argues the measures are needed to save the carrier.

To stem Iberia's cash losses by mid-2013, the Spanish airline plans to slash its network capacity by 15 percent and downsize its fleet by 25 aircraft, including five long-haul jets.