Strikes are being threatened at Iberia after unions rejected a fresh proposal by management on job and salary cuts hours before yesterday’s deadline for agreement.

The International Airlines Group-owned carrier and unions were in talks over loss-making Iberia’s plans to axe up to 4,500 jobs and cut salaries in what chief executive Willie Walsh has called a “fight for survival”.

In a revised proposal, Iberia said it offered 3,147 job cuts, 30% fewer than in the original plan, lower wage reductions and capacity cuts of 10% this year rather than an initial plan for 15%.

But the six unions that represent Iberia’s ground and cabin crews rejected the plan in a joint statement yesterday, calling it far from the terms that had been agreed during weeks of talks with management.

The unions did not say when they would go on strike, Reuters reported. Pilots union Sepla also rejected the new restructuring plan, but stopped short of supporting strike action.

The airline had set a January 31 deadline to reach a deal with the unions and has threatened unilateral cuts if staff failed to support the plan.

Iberia said the latest plan enabled the airline to “return to profitability, with the least possible sacrifice” by its workers. The IAG board is due to meet today to respond to the rejection of the revised cost cutting plans.