International Airlines Group, the company formed from the merger of British Airways and Spain's Iberia, is suing the Spanish pilots union over strikes late last year and early this year.
The claim lodged in the high court yesterday came a day after Iberia flight and ground crews said they would go on strike for six days in the runup to Christmas in protest against job cuts.
IAG said on Friday its lawsuit was against Sepla, the Iberia pilots' union, and the International Federation of Airline Pilots Association in relation to the strikes that Sepla embarked on to protest against the creation of Iberia's low-cost subsidiary Iberia Express, which it said violated its collective wage bargaining agreement with Iberia. IAG added that its claim was not related to the recently announced restructuring of Iberia.
Earlier this month IAG boss Willie Walsh announced 4,500 job losses at Iberia, which has lost âŹ262m this year. The job losses amount to more than 20% of the workforce and come on top of a 35% pay cut for remaining employees. IAG directors claimed the airline was in a "fight for survival".
Regarding the high court lawsuit, IAG said on Friday: "The claim is made under European law which provides that airline groups should be free to establish air services across Europe. IAG is seeking a declaration its EU rights were infringed and British Airways is seeking damages because the strikes affected its business, causing it to incur financial loss."