Union says DAA plan is ‘rerun’ of contingency measures from last March

Siptu organiser says members at Dublin Airport ‘putting shoulder to the wheel’ since December

The plan put forward by DAA to deal with its security issues is a “rerun” of contingency measures put in place Dublin Airport last March, according to the industrial organiser with the aviation section of Siptu Jerry Brennan.

In an interview with the News at One on RTÉ Radio 1, Mr Brennan said the union’s members have been under tremendous pressure since December when passengers started returning in “great volume”.

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“The task force that is referred to of up to 450 people and a lot of those are also our members who are doing their normal day to day work Monday to Friday...They are being pulled in to give support at the weekend. This is a temporary measure. None of those staff are trained to carry out airport security searches. They can’t work the screening, they can’t do body searches, they can’t do the swab testing for illegal substances.

“People who are appointed as new ASU [airport search unit] staff are also only trained to a certain level so they can only do some of the tasks that are required. They cannot do access control. They cannot read the X-ray screening equipment. It is very limited what they can do.”

Mr Brennan said the persons still shouldering all of the strain were the ASU staff who remained following the DAA voluntary severance scheme.

“On Sunday morning the DAA thought they had rostered the appropriate number of staff and that was 250 or thereabouts. 17 people weren’t even qualified and should never have appeared on the roster. 20 rang in sick. But I am not surprised at people having levels of absenteeism. Sunday wasn’t an isolated incident. Our members have been under this pressure since December... his [travel disruption] wasn’t caused by Covid. This was caused by a voluntary severance scheme. Why weren’t they recruiting new people?”

Mr Brennan added that staff “were putting their shoulder to the wheel” since December, and that overtime was not the answer for workers who were already “greatly fatigued”.