Stoppage at Aer Lingus may be called off
The threat of industrial action at Aer Lingus later this month appeared to be receding last night following intervention by the Irish Congress of Trade Unions (Ictu) and the Irish Business and Employers Confederation (Ibec).
Staff at Aer Lingus are scheduled to undertake a two-hour work stoppage on Monday, November 19th, as part of a dispute over how to tackle the €748 million deficit in the pension scheme which covers employees at the airline and at the Dublin Airport Authority.
Talks at the Labour Relations Commission on the dispute broke down a fortnight ago. However new proposals to avert the industrial action were put forward yesterday by Ictu and Ibec.
The union and employers’ organisations urged staff at Aer Lingus to withdraw plans for industrial action to allow for a new talks process.
Aer Lingus said it would participate in the structure of re-engagement proposed by Ibec and Ictu “on a voluntary and non-binding basis”.
Unions are to consider the proposals in the coming days.
Ictu and Ibec said the LRC should make contact with both the unions at Aer Lingus and management at the company as a matter of urgency.
“Having consulted with the ‘technical group’ established by the LRC to assist the talks process and having reviewed all outstanding issues, the chief executive of the commission should report formally to the parties on the outcome of the discussions held to date and give his assessment of the measures needed to achieve a final resolution of those issues where differences remain.”
Under the Ictu/Ibec proposals, the parties would consider this report and give their positions to the LRC.
Ictu and Ibec said outstanding matters should be referred to the Labour Court for an interim recommendation that would set out the main parameters for resolution.
“The recommendation of the Labour Court should then be considered by the LRC ‘technical group’, with a view to finalising the design of the new pension arrangements. The outcome will then be considered by the parties in conjunction with their respective stakeholders. Any residual outstanding matters can be referred back to the Labour Court as necessary for final recommendation as part of a composite and definitive solution. Both parties should co-operate fully with the above process and engage meaningfully with a view to finding a speedy resolution. As a result the group of unions should withdraw the notice of industrial action.”
The trade union Impact welcomed the Ictu/Ibec intervention. Siptu said it had convened an emergency meeting of its Aer Lingus pension committee for today to discuss the proposals.
Aer Lingus said it welcomed this proposed re-engagement with the LRC.