Aer Arann signals possibility of layoffs
Airline considers issuing protective notice to staff
Aer Lingus regional flights in Ireland and Britain on Tuesday, Wednesday, Saturday and Sunday next week are likely to be cancelled if industrial action goes ahead. Aer Arann provides these services under a franchise from Aer Lingus.
Regional airline Aer Arann has signalled that it is considering laying staff off if its pilots go ahead with a threatened strike next week.
Pilots at the airline, which operates regional services for Aer Lingus, are threatening to down tools over four days next week in a row over pay.
The company yesterday issued a statement saying that protective notice was “one option” now facing it as a result of the move.
Protective notice is where employers inform workers that there is a risk that they will be laid off at some point in the near future. Businesses frequently do this when they are facing the possibility of a strike or some other industrial action.
Aer Arann’s statement said it was working on a strategy that would return the loss-making carrier to profitability next year.
“But no company, particularly an airline that depends on consumer confidence and operational certainty, can sustain prolonged strike action,” it added.
In response, the Irish Airline Pilots’ Association (Ialpa) said it had an agreement with the airline to review its members’ pay and conditions but management instead attempted to impose parameters on these talks to which the union had not agreed.
“We were not prepared to negotiate under those conditions,” a spokesman said.
The threat means Aer Lingus regional flights in Ireland and Britain on Tuesday, Wednesday, Saturday and Sunday next week are likely to be cancelled if the industrial action goes ahead.
Aer Arann provides these services under a franchise from Aer Lingus. They include flights to and from airports in Scotland and England such as Aberdeen, Edinburgh, Birmingham and Manchester. They also link Dublin with domestic destinations that include Cork, Kerry, Knock and Shannon.
The row is rooted in a dispute between the two sides in July last year that also brought the airline to the brink of strike. At that time it agreed to refer pilots’ pay, which was cut in May 2009, to an independently chaired tribunal.
Aer Arann said that settlement also included a commitment from the pilots that they would not strike for at least 20 months, which has now been broken.
However, Ialpa said the company had reneged on a number of terms of an agreement covering the pay review process, leaving its members free to pursue their only alternative.
The union also said that once the independent tribunal got under way the company said it was prepared to enter into talks only on the basis that pay would remain frozen this year and would be reviewed in 2014, conditions Ialpa said were not part of the original agreement.
The carrier employs about 100 pilots whose pay ranges from €41,300 for a newly recruited first officer to between €65,000 and €81,000 for captains. Their numbers are split evenly between both ranks.