Aer Lingus says it will sue Siptu over action
AER LINGUS has warned it will sue trade union Siptu and its officers, officials and members for at least €2 million a day in potential losses if planned industrial action goes ahead from next week.
In a letter sent to the union yesterday, the airline maintained the row with the union over pensions did not constitute a trade dispute.
It argued that Siptu, in triggering the planned action, was acting outside the protections set out in industrial relations legislation.
“Accordingly, we must now put you on notice that Aer Lingus will hold Siptu and all relevant officers, officials and members personally liable in respect of inevitable losses that will be sustained by Aer Lingus by reason of unlawful and unwarranted disruption to its operations caused by the purported industrial action. We estimate that those losses will not be less than €2 million per day.”
Siptu has served notice of industrial action on both Aer Lingus and the Dublin Airport Authority (DAA), which runs the country’s three main airports at Dublin, Cork and Shannon, as part of the row over pensions. The union has signalled it would stage staggered two-hour stoppages on a location-by-location basis in both companies from next Monday.
Last night the union said the issue involved a legitimate trade dispute stemming from Aer Lingus and the DAA walking away from obligations under pension funding entitlement agreements. It said thousands of members at the companies faced losing virtually their entire life savings as a result of of an absurd funding standard imposed by State authorities.
Separately yesterday, the DAA secured High Court permission to seek an injunction on Friday against Siptu to prevent any work stoppages. Lawyers for the DAA said the action could close the three airports if it went ahead.
In an affidavit to the High Court, John McCormack, group head of industrial relations at Dublin Airport, said the closures would cause the DAA “irreparable and indeed immeasurable loss” and could expose it to sanctions by the aviation regulator. Talks to resolve the row have been under way at the Labour Relations Commission for some time.