Aer Lingus row remains deadlocked with pilots’ industrial action set to proceed

Labour Court stalls on intervening in pay dispute following separate meetings with union and management

Members of the Irish Airline Pilots’ Association at Aer Lingus begin industrial action on Wednesday. Photograph: Colin Keegan, Collins Dublin

The Aer Lingus pilots’ pay row remains deadlocked after the Labour Court told parties on Tuesday that it would not aid them in ending the dispute at this time.

Members of the Irish Airline Pilots’ Association (Ialpa), part of trade union Fórsa, at the company will begin industrial action, which has already grounded 270 flights, as planned on Wednesday.

Aer Lingus cancelled flights: Full list of 270 services disrupted due to industrial actionOpens in new window ]

The court told both sides after meeting them separately on Tuesday that it would not assist them in ending the dispute “at this point in time”, but said it would review the situation next week.

Aer Lingus earlier confirmed that it had cancelled 50 more flights over next Monday and Tuesday, July 1st and 2nd, to minimise disruption from the pilots’ planned work to rule, due to begin at 12.01am on Wednesday.


That brings to 270 the total number of services that the airline has axed as a consequence of the work to rule and a strike planned for Saturday, June 29th, between 5am and 1pm.

Growing fears that Aer Lingus pilots’ work-to-rule could lead to chaos at Dublin AirportOpens in new window ]

Ialpa vice-president (finance) Capt Daniel Langan said the pilots’ union noted the Labour Court’s decision not to intervene in the dispute.

“Considering that, Ialpa urges Aer Lingus to set a date and a time to reconvene negotiations to try and avert industrial action this coming Saturday,” he added.

The airline insisted that it remained available for discussions both directly and through the State’s industrial relations framework.

Aer Lingus called on Ialpa to consider the damage that industrial action would do to passengers, the company and the Irish economy.

Ialpa president Capt Mark Tighe argued that the pilots’ claim for a 23.88 per cent pay rise was completely reasonable in light of cost-of-living increases.

“We’ve come down to the point where we’re simply trying to protect our incomes,” he said, noting that pilots in other European airlines had won salary hikes “over and above” inflation.

Aer Lingus cancels 50 more flights as Labour Court talks startOpens in new window ]

Capt Tighe stressed that industrial action would continue until the dispute was resolved.

He was speaking after Ialpa/Fórsa representatives met the Labour Court, chaired by Kevin Foley, to outline their side of the dispute on Tuesday afternoon.

Aer Lingus representatives, led by chief executive Lynne Embleton, attended in the morning. The airline’s chief corporate affairs officer, Donal Moriarty, afterwards described the talks as “constructive”.

However, the company said later that it was disappointed at the court’s subsequent decision not to move at this point.

Meanwhile, the union confirmed to members at Aer Lingus bases in the Republic that industrial action would go ahead on Wednesday morning, adding that it would issue instructions at 12.01am.

Aer Lingus row intensifies as travel association accuses pilots of ‘cruel timing’ for strikeOpens in new window ]

Under the work to rule, pilots will not operate outside of hours or accept changes to rosters, removing the flexibility that Aer Lingus needs to fly its busy summer schedule.

The carrier pledged to continue focusing on minimising disruption to passengers.

Barry O'Halloran

Barry O'Halloran

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