Travellers face flight cancellations as Aer Arann pilots threaten strike in pay row
Aer Lingus regional services under threat
Aer Arann pilots yesterday served notice on the airline that they intend to strike over four days next week in the latest round of hostilities in a row over a pay freeze at the company.
If the strike, proposed for Tuesday and Wednesday and Saturday and Sunday of next week, goes ahead, it will result in Aer Lingus’s regional flights being cancelled on those days.
Aer Arann operates these flights as Aer Lingus Regional under a franchise from the bigger airline.
They also link Dublin with the likes of Cork, Kerry, Knock and Shannon, and include services to the Channel Islands and other centres.
The Irish Airline Pilots’ Association (IALPA) served strike notice on the company yesterday morning and by last night there were no signs of the two sides coming together.
The pilots claim that there is no justification for continuing a pay freeze dating back to 2008 and refusing to restore cuts made when the airline was in financial trouble in 2010.
The company says that it is not committed to reviewing pay until it returns to profitability, which it has yet to do.
It pointed out that it attempted to facilitate the independent tribunal’s work by providing the union with commercial information.
“We have always stated to all staff that once a return to profitability is achieved, pay will be reviewed,” it said in a statement.
A spokesman yesterday claimed that the union has reneged on an agreement made in July last year not to embark on any industrial action for 20 months and also said that it has yet to make a formal pay claim.
However, IALPA says that Aer Arann breached several terms of an agreement covering the pay review process at the airline that was hammered out following a dispute last year which also brought the company close to strike.
As a consequence, its president, Evan Cullen, said yesterday that the pilots were free to pursue their only alternative.
Both sides agreed last year to take part in an independent pay review that was due to begin before September but ultimately got under way in June under Mr Foley’s chairmanship.
Mr Cullen said yesterday that it was originally agreed that the process would cover 16 areas relating to pay and conditions.
Once it got under way, the company said that it would only take part on the basis that there would be no pay rise this year and no review until 2014 at the earliest.
“They basically attempted to impose new parameters on the process,” he said.