Industrial action at Aer Lingus likely, unions say
UNIONS REPRESENTING Aer Lingus workers have warned that industrial disruption this summer is “likely” as a result of management’s plans to move most of its maintenance division out of Shannon.
Aer Lingus workers at Shannon are to meet officials from the Unite, Siptu and TEEU unions tomorrow to discuss action they might take in the event of the airline deciding to exit the lease on the maintenance hangar there.
The feared exit could leave 55 Aer Lingus workers either redundant or facing a move to Dublin.
Union representatives last week presented management with a case outlining alternative means for the airline to achieve €1.5 million in savings it is seeking.
However, Unite said the unions’ case received a “frosty reception”.
“It now appears that the workers’ representatives, who were engaged in what they thought was an opportunity to find the savings necessary to protect their jobs, were not given a fair hearing,” said Unite’s regional officer Brian Gormley.
“It seems that Aer Lingus management were committed all along to divesting the lease of the Shannon hangar and moving the work to Dublin.”
A spokesman for Aer Lingus said negotiations with staff were ongoing.
“We are in consultation with staff and their representatives about the potential relocation of some of the maintenance operations from Shannon to Dublin, and, because we are in consultation, we have no further comment,” the spokesman said.
The lease on the hangar is held by the Dublin Airport Authority. Russia’s second biggest airline, Transaero, which recently acquired an aircraft maintenance company in Shannon, has been mooted as a possible new tenant.
Aer Lingus has been in negotiation with staff over the past two months in relation to its planned consolidation of its engineering operations in Dublin – a move that would substantially reduce the numbers employed at the maintenance division in Shannon.
At the moment the airline conducts maintenance of its long-haul fleet and elements of line maintenance at Shannon. However, most of its long-haul Airbus A330 aircraft are based at Dublin, resulting in “ferry flights” to and from Shannon when they need to undergo maintenance.