Iberia pilots face their pay being cut by a fifth as the carrier takes a hard line in a row over cost cuts and the launch of budget carrier Iberia Express.

Pilots at the International Airlines Group-owned Spanish airline plan strikes every Monday and Friday for three and a half months, an action that could reportedly cost the airline up to €90 million.

But under new Spanish labour law reforms, companies can  propose changes to contracts with employees if the groups have experienced two consecutive quarters of either losses or falling revenue – both of which apply to Iberia.

Alongside the pay cut, which includes an across-the-board reduction in pay scales and changes to perks for pilots with 15 years’ seniority, the airline is proposing to increase the number of hours pilots are expected to fly every year and eliminate extra holidays for senior staff, the Financial Times reported.

The move comes ahead of the start of 15 days of talks with pilots union Sepla. Iberia expects a resolution in 50 days time,

IAG, the holding company of both Iberia and British Airways, says it will not back down due to the damage high costs has caused to profitability on Iberia’s short- and medium-haul network.