Airline stoppage likely to go ahead
Planned industrial action at Aer Lingus seems set to go ahead next Monday as part of a dispute over pensions.
A planned two-hour work stoppage had appeared likely to be suspended following the intervention of the Irish Congress of Trade Unions and the employer’s body Ibec last Friday.
Both organisations had proposed a new talks process involving both the Labour Relations Commission and the Labour Court.
However the trade union Siptu said that following a meeting this morning its shop stewards had declined to withdraw strike notice pending clarification on a number of issues.
It is understood that one of the main sticking points is proposals by the company that any investment to deal with a €750 million deficit in the pension scheme which covers staff at the airline and the Dublin Airport Authority should be offset by productivity measures from staff.
Aer Lingus said it found "most regrettable", the decision by Siptu to use its customers "as leverage in a dispute, for which a way forward is clearly available".
It said the requirement for employment cost stabilisation measures had been consistently stated by the airline in all of its statements on the pension issue.
"This requirement is not new and Aer Lingus' position in this regard remains unchanged," the airline said.
"Aer Lingus’ primary focus in the coming days is on our customers. We are in the process of activating our disruptions plan and will do everything possible on Monday 19th November to minimise disruption to our customers’ travel plans.
“We will communicate proactively with customers over the coming days to inform them of any anticipated schedule changes.”
Minister for Transport Leo Varadkar said he was disappointed Siptu had not withdrawn their notice of industrial action given that the union had welcomed the joint initiative put forward by Congress and IBEC last Friday
“This joint initiative aims to resolve the long-standing pension issue at Aer Lingus in a practical manner, in everyone’s interest. Passengers, tourists and business people will not appreciate the unnecessary disruption that will be caused,” he said.
Fianna Fáil transport spokesman Timmy Dooley called for immediate Government intervention to halt the strike.
“No one is denying that this is a complicated situation but all three parties in this dispute seem to have hit a brick wall and this is where the Minister should intervene," he said.