New talks next week to avert further strikes by Aer Lingus cabin crew

A 24-hour stoppage to go ahead today affecting the travel plans of 30,000

Aer Lingus has cancelled most of its flights scheduled for today.

Aer Lingus has cancelled most of its flights scheduled for today.

Fri, May 30, 2014, 01:00

Talks between Aer Lingus and representatives of cabin crew aimed at averting further strike actions in a dispute over rosters are expected to be held next week.

A 24-hour stoppage by cabin crew at the airline will go ahead today in a move that has affected the travel plans of 30,000 people. Aer Lingus has cancelled most of its flights scheduled for today.

Hundreds of strike-bound passengers on an Aer Lingus flight to Boston last night were refused pre-flight immigration cer Lingus has cancelled most of its flights scheduled for today.

learance in Dublin.

Immigration

Passengers arrived at Dublin Airport some hours ahead of the flight to Boston, expecting to clear immigration.

However, they were told that the United States customs and border protection (USCBP) team, which supervises the service, would not offer it for this particular flight. Passengers were obliged to join the normal immigration queues at Boston on arrival.

The flight had been laid on specially to accommodate passengers who had intended to travel to the US today but were forced to change their plans because of the one-day strike .

Dublin Airport Authority cites pre-clearance of immigration as one of the main features of its offering to transatlantic passengers.

A spokesman for the authority said that arrangements for pre-clearance of immigration were a matter for airlines and the USCBP, especially where extra non-scheduled flights were concerned.

Aer Lingus hired two aircraft yesterday for flights to accommodate transatlantic passengers. It is understood the US authorities agreed to process one but not the other, with the 5pm flight to Boston losing out.

The airline accepted last night that it had failed to inform passengers on the flight they would not be able to pre-clear immigration.

“It was not communicated to passengers that the flight was not pre-cleared,” a spokeswoman for the airline said. “I don’t know where the communications lapse occurred.”

The union Impact, which represents the cabin crew, is to place pickets at Dublin, Cork and Shannon airports from early morning today.

Cabin crew members are to march to Aer Lingus headquarters at Dublin Airport where they will hand in a letter of protest addressed to chief executive of the airline Christoph Mueller.

Invitation

Impact has said it will accept an invitation by Aer Lingus to attend new talks on cabin crew rosters.

Cabin crew are asking the company to introduce a fixed roster involving five days working to be followed by three days off. This is similar to the arrangements in place for pilots at the company.

Cabin crew have argued that current roster arrangements are erratic and impose excessive fatigue.

Aer Lingus has said the introduction of rosters sought by staff would significantly increase costs.

Sources said talks between the two sides were not likely to get under way until the middle of next week.