Aer Lingus pilots could serve industrial action notice today

Union completing formal steps before announcing next move in pay dispute

Aer Lingus pilots could serve industrial action notice today. Photograph: Colin Keegan, Collins Dublin

Aer Lingus pilots could serve notice of strike or other industrial action on the airline today as they continue their pursuit of 20 per cent-plus pay rises.

Members of the Irish Airline Pilots’ Association (Ialpa) are due to have completed formal steps, including setting up a dispute committee today, paving the way for them to serve notice of industrial action on the company.

Sources expect the union’s Aer Lingus branch to act sooner rather than later and believe its officials will announce their next move today.

Ialpa must give the company at least seven days’ notice of any industrial action, but its officials have confirmed that the union will consider Aer Lingus’s request that it provide 15 days.


The union could opt for one-day strikes, effectively grounding the airline for their duration, or more limited industrial action that could still threaten to disrupt or cancel some flights at a key time of year.

Seven days notice could see the union members take whatever action decided on by the end of the month, while a longer period potentially pushes that into early July, a peak month for travel.

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Ialpa’s Aer Lingus branch was due to seek sanction from the union’s services and enterprise committee for industrial action last night and the form a dispute committee this morning.

Those steps follow Aer Lingus pilots’ overwhelming vote for industrial action, up to and including strike, in a ballot completed on Monday.

Observers say attitudes on both sides have hardened in recent days, particularly since the airline queried the validity of a digital ballot for industrial action that the union completed last week.

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This prompted Ialpa to hold a paper vote over the weekend. Monday’s result showed that 660 of the pilots who took part backed the call for industrial action.

The likelihood of the airline’s first strike in 22 years has been growing since last month, when pilots rejected a Labour Court deal that included 9.25 per cent in pay rises.

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The dispute has been building since early this year, when pilots turned down an 8.5 per cent boost offered by an internal company pay tribunal.

Efforts to resolve the row at both the Workplace Relations Commission and Labour Court subsequently failed.

Barry O'Halloran

Barry O'Halloran

Barry O’Halloran covers energy, construction, insolvency, and gaming and betting, among other areas