Unite, Britain and Ireland's biggest union, has informed the EU commissioner for Competition, Margrethe Vestager, that it intends to act as a third party opposing the acquisition of Air Europa by BA's parent company IAG.

The union is now in talks with the DG Competition case team who will be investigating the takeover.

The union has strongly criticised IAG’s decision to spend hundreds of millions of pounds on a new acquisition, while pleading poverty as an excuse to execute its brutal “fire and rehire” strategy on its BA workforce - stripping workers of their terms and conditions while cutting thousands of jobs.

Unite has identified a number of serious competition concerns with the potential to scupper the Air Europa deal. These include; IAG's increasing domination of the market for flights from Europe to South America, IAG's dominant position at Madrid-Barajas airport and the group’s return to a monopolistic hold over the Spanish domestic market. These issues all make it likely that the acquisition would drive up ticket prices and reduce the number of fights on some routes, matters of serious concern to the European Commission.

Sharon Graham, Unite executive officer, said: "Unite is questioning why IAG is seeking to fire and rehire the workforce at BA while its parent IAG is ploughing ahead with buying an airline for over €1 billion. There are a number of reasons why this merger of Iberia with Air Europa would appear to be anti-competitive.

"The case team at DG Competition have been very open to us sharing our concerns with them. We are now gathering further detailed evidence from a number of expert sources and discussing the takeover with other parties that could be negatively impacted. We are confident that we have a strong case and we look forward to officially presenting all our evidence when Phase I of the investigation begins.”

ENDS

For more information contact Ciaran Naidoo 07768 931 315