Aer Lingus offers fewer job cuts in exchange for deal on work practices

Airline had said 500 jobs would go but numbers will now depend on Siptu ballot

Aer Lingus aircraft pictured at Dublin Airport: the airline may reduce planned redundancis. Photograph: Cathal McNaughton/Reuters

Aer Lingus aircraft pictured at Dublin Airport: the airline may reduce planned redundancis. Photograph: Cathal McNaughton/Reuters

 

Aer Lingus has told Siptu it will significantly reduce job cuts among the trade union’s members at the airline if they vote for a deal on work practice changes.

The carrier last week told the Government it would cut up to 500 jobs from its 4,500 strong workforce after all unions failed to agree to a recovery plan by a deadline on Monday June 15th.

However, Aer Lingus confirmed on Friday that, following talks with Siptu, which represents 1,500 workers in Cork, Dublin and Shannon airports, it has reached agreement on proposed work practice changes.

If Siptu members vote for the deal, Aer Lingus has pledged to “meaningfully reduce” job cuts among the union’s members.

Ground crew, support staff and maintenance workers could account for up to 270 of the proposed job losses at the airline, with Siptu bearing the brunt of this.

The union intends balloting members on the proposals over the next two weeks.

Extra duties

Primarily they involve staff taking on extra duties within their sections, something a certain number of them are doing already.

They are similar to measures put forward in the recovery plan drafted by the airline two weeks ago but which failed to get the support of all Aer Lingus unions. Fórsa, which represents pilots and crew, rejected the deal.

If Siptu members back the new agreement, Aer Lingus will immediately restore any of its members who are currently temporarily laid off and pay the difference between the Government’s Covid support scheme and 50 per cent of their regular pay.

The company will also pay staff now receiving 30 per cent of their regular pay the difference between that and 50 per cent. Siptu official Neil McGowan confirmed that all those payments would be backdated.

Aer Lingus said it was “commencing a process of consultation on anticipated redundancies” with other unions, including Fórsa and Connect, which represents craft workers. However, it is understood that the carrier is not ruling out the possibility of reaching a similar compromise with those unions.

The airline’s original Covid-19 recovery plan involved unions agreeing to widespread work practice changes in exchange for the company rowing back on plans to cut wages by 70 per cent until August.