Aer Lingus ground staff reject ‘one-sided’ cost-saving proposals

Overwhelming majority oppose airline’s plans to offset losses due to Covid-19

Aer Lingus staff working in ground operations in Dublin have overwhelmingly rejected proposals by the airline for cost reductions and work practice changes to offset losses arising from the Covid-19 pandemic.

The trade union Siptu said its members working in ground operations for Aer Lingus at Dublin Airport had voted by 82 per cent against the proposed measures.

The union said it represented about 1,100 workers employed by Aer Lingus as ground crew in Dublin Airport.

Siptu sector organiser Niall Phillips said: "Prior to this ballot, union representatives engaged with management at the company concerning changes it wished to implement due to the losses the company incurred during the Covid-19 pandemic. Our members have clearly rejected what was proposed to them.


“Workers in the aviation sector have been severely affected by the Covid-19 crisis. Many have been laid off for long periods of time, others saw significant reductions in their working hours, and hundreds have been made redundant across the sector.”

Significant losses

Siptu transport division organiser Karan O Loughlin said the majority of its members at the airline who rejected the proposals continued to work at 80 per cent of their normal hours.

“We can’t forget that there are many others still on short-time work or laid off. Our members accept that the aviation industry suffered significant losses due to the pandemic, but so did its workers. They believe that this not been adequately recognised by the company. The only way for a meaningful recovery in Aer Lingus is for both workers and the company to have the same opportunity to recover.

“Permanent cuts to workers’ terms and conditions is not the way to achieve this. The sort of one-sided recovery which was proposed by the company is not acceptable to our members and is clearly not the way forward.”

Last week 1,300 cabin crew at Aer Lingus, who are represented by the trade union Fórsa, also voted overwhelmingly to reject a series of measures including new work practices and lower pay scales for new entrants.

The airline indicated subsequently that it may forge ahead with cuts unilaterally. Aer Lingus said it lost €563 million last year amid the pandemic.

In a three-page letter following that ballot result, Mary Montgomery, the airline’s director of in-flight services, wrote to the union and staff threatening to forge ahead anyway with a slew of cuts. “The seriousness of the situation has not been understood,” she said.

Martin Wall

Martin Wall

Martin Wall is Washington Correspondent of The Irish Times. He was previously industry correspondent