Daa, the operator of Dublin airport, is to move to outsource the provision of frontline maintenance services, a move that is expected to be opposed by trade unions.
The company said the move followed the rejection by more than 100 craft workers, represented by the Unite and Connect trade unions, of proposals for work practice changes.
Daa said the changes it had sought under its “new ways of working” (NWOW) proposals were “cross-terminals working, follow-the-work, roster changes, technology enablement and clean-as-you-go”.
"Despite significant and extended engagement Unite and Connect trade unions representing 111 craft workers, or 4 per cent of our total employees, rejected the proposals and also rejected a Labour Court recommendation for all parties to accept same.
“Given the lack of any meaningful progress, Daa has today written to both Unite and Connect and their members advising them that we have now reached the end of the NWOW negotiations process, and will begin a new engagement process regard to the provision of frontline maintenance services, through third party service providers, at Dublin airport.”
Connect regional secretary Sean Heading said it would be consulting with members as soon as possible. He said the union opposed the transfer of direct employment to third-party companies.
Unite regional officer Willie Quigley said: "In their statement the Daa refers to a lack of 'meaningful progress'. Unite would argue that any lack of progress may have been due to an absence of meaningful engagement on the part of the company.
“Unite’s ballot on the Labour Court recommendation was inconclusive: Unite did not reject the Labour Court recommendation. However, it is my belief that our members would vigorously oppose any moves towards outsourcing if the Daa attempts to go down that road.”
The company said the changes requested from the workers, in what is known as its asset management division, were “no different and in many areas considerably less than that sought from other colleagues across our business”.
“Covid-19 resulted in Daa losing up to €1 million a day last year when it recorded a loss of €284 million. Since then it has taken steps to reduce its cost base and right size and restructure its business.
“Following engagement with trade union partners and staff representatives, almost 1,000 staff have exited though a voluntary severance scheme, facilitated by NWOW across all parts of our business.
“From the onset of the crisis in aviation created by Covid-19, Daa has engaged with all our trade unions on a weekly basis to update them on the impact of the crisis and to agree an approach to right size the business and introduce new ways of working across all areas. This engagement has resulted in 25 agreements being reached with 2,000 colleagues covering 93 per cent of our employees.”