Willie Walsh takes Spanish pilots' union to court

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The Independent Online

Willie Walsh, the boss of the owner of British Airways and Iberia, gave Spanish pilots a taste of his tough management style yesterday by suing their union for calling strikes.

International Airlines Group (IAG) has lodged a claim against the union over walkouts called late last year and early this year against the creation of the Spanish airline's budget subsidiary, Iberia Express.

"The claim is made under European law which provides that airline groups should be free to establish air services across Europe," IAG said. "IAG is seeking a declaration that its EU rights were infringed and British Airways is seeking damages because the strikes affected its business, causing it to incur financial loss."

The move comes weeks after Mr Walsh, who faced years of strikes by Britain's Unite union after he restructured BA, announced plans to axe 4,000 jobs and sell aircraft at Iberia, admitting the loss-making carrier was in a "fight for survival". He also warned that "time is not on our side" for Iberia.