AT least 8,000 Iberia staff members filled Barajas T4 to capacity yesterday during the second of their five days of strikes and protests over the company’s plans to make nearly 4,000 employees redundant.
Riot police had to intervene and the crowds of wall-to-wall demonstrators blocked off entrances, forcing their way in.
Reports of confrontations between airport workers and passengers were even recorded.
Many had walked up to 10 kilometres chanting and carrying banners.
Yesterday alone, 236 Iberia flights were cancelled as pilots, ground staff and cabin crew downed tools.
They intend to strike for five full days, which will cost the airline around 50 million euros in lost profits and leave 1,220 flights grounded.
This is only the first in a series of week-long strikes planned between now and the end of March.
Iberia staff object to the company’s restructure plans, fearing that the airline is slowly being swallowed up by British Airways, with which it merged two years ago, and will become the ‘poor relation’.
Pilots have offered to take a 26-per-cent pay-cut and devised methods of increasing productivity, but the firm’s management rejected these out of hand and insists on going ahead with laying off 3,807 employees.
At least nine in 10 workers joined in the strike and protest, and it is thought that there may even have been more involved.