Aer Lingus confirms 500 jobs to be lost

Cuts to come across support staff, ground crew, maintenance roles and cabin crew

Aer Lingus pointed out that the Republic’s 14-day quarantine for incoming travellers had exacerbated the already catastrophic impact of Covid-19 travel bans on its business. Photograph: Tom Honan

Aer Lingus pointed out that the Republic’s 14-day quarantine for incoming travellers had exacerbated the already catastrophic impact of Covid-19 travel bans on its business. Photograph: Tom Honan

 

Aer Lingus confirmed on Friday that it will shed up to 500 jobs from its 4,500-strong workforce.

The move comes days after the airline said it would press ahead with plans to cut pay by 70 per cent until August following the collapse of a possible deal with unions including Fórsa and Siptu.

The company informed the Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection, Regina Doherty, that it expects to seek up to 500 redundancies, the first formal step that a company must take when it seeks to cut jobs.

“Aer Lingus is now commencing the required consultation process with employee representative organisations,” the carrier said.

Siptu divisional organiser Karan O’Loughlin accused Aer Lingus of “pouring petrol on the fire of an already difficult industrial relations environment”.

She warned that productive talks would be impossible while 200 of the union’s members were on temporary lay off and 1,000 had their pay cut by 70 per cent.

Siptu’s aviation sector organiser, Neil McGowan vowed that it would seek to maintain as many jobs as possible while ensuring that workers only left the company voluntarily.

He argued that “management must also step back from the planned lay-offs and further pay reductions it announced earlier this week”.

Fórsa, which represents pilots, cabin crew and some managers, said that it would enter talks with Aer Lingus to minimise job losses and protect members’ incomes.

Aer Lingus pointed out the Covid-19 crisis had left it flying 5 per cent of its normal schedule with no certainty about the restoration of services.

Quarantine

The airline added that a 14-day quarantine for arriving passengers and official advice against “non-essential travel” had exacerbated the situation in the Republic.

It noted that the State had failed to take the same steps as other EU members, which have progressively restored air transport in response to a European Commission invitation to do so,

The company wants to cut up to 120 support area jobs, 100 ground crew, 50 maintenance staff, with the remaining 230 coming from pilots and cabin crew.

Under a draft deal put to union officials last week, the airline pledged to drop plans to cut pay to 30 per cent of normal levels until August and reverse temporary lay offs at Shannon Airport, in return for work practice changes.

However, Aer Lingus took those proposals off the table after it appeared that all unions had failed to agree to them by a deadline of 6.00pm on Monday.

Siptu accused the company of treating some workers differently after it emerged that members of the Irish Airline Pilots’ Association, part of Fórsa, were being allowed the time to ballot on the deal.

It is understood that pilots had the time to ballot as they are paid monthly while Aer Lingus pays other staff fortnightly.

Fórsa also said that it would have to ballot cabin crew and other staff, which would take until Monday June 22nd.

Siptu accepted the deal’s terms without asking members to vote although officials acknowledged that they were uncomfortable with this.

They agreed to the terms as the situation was urgent while ongoing coronavirus restrictions made it difficult to ballot 1,500 members across Dublin, Cork and Shannon airports.