Aer Lingus pilots in line for 9% pay rise

Move follows Labour Court proposal for pay rise for ground and cabin crew

Photograph: Peter Muhly/AFP/Getty Images

Photograph: Peter Muhly/AFP/Getty Images

 

Aer Lingus pilots are expected to be in line for pay rises of close to 9 per cent over three years, it is understood under recommendations due shortly from a tribunal.

Other Aer Lingus staff, including ground and cabin crew, represented by Siptu and the Technical, Electrical and Engineering Union (TEEU), recently accepted a Labour Court recommendation for pay rises totalling 8.74 per cent over three years.

A tribunal that oversees pilots’ pay talks is understood to be close to finishing its work and is likely to recommend a similar increase to that agreed by other Aer Lingus staff.

The Labour Court recommendation for other Aer Lingus staff was for a 3.7 per cent increase this year, and an additional 2.75 per cent in each of 2018 and 2019, which comes to 8.74 per cent compounded.

Pilots are seeking the restoration of a 10 per cent concession given to the company in 2010. That would entail an 11.1 per cent increase on their current pay, and 6 per cent on top of that.

Capt Evan Cullen, president of the Irish Airline Pilots’ Association, which represents Aer Lingus cockpit crew, would not comment on the likely outcome of the process.

He confirmed that the sides had made submissions to the tribunal, chaired by barrister Gerard Durcan SC, dealing with the company’s ability to pay.

The body, whose other members are Mark Connaughton SC and Peter McLoone, former general secretary of trade union, Impact, has also received an economic evaluation, compiled by the US Airline Pilots Association.

While the tribunal’s pay recommendations will come later than the Labour Court determination on ground and cabin crew wages, Capt Cullen pointed out that the pilots’ process was ahead in other areas.

As part of the pay deal, Aer Lingus workers have agreed to extra productivity and flexibility. Details of this will be worked out locally with each union.

Ground and cabin crew unions are due to begin talks on that element of the agreement. However, pilots started negotiations on productivity and flexibility in tandem with the discussions on pay.

“A lot of that ground work has been done already with the terms of the pilots’ tribunal,” Capt Cullen confirmed.

Speaking after Aer Lingus announced plans to begin flying to Seattle in the north western US, the airline’s chief executive, Stephen Kavanagh, confirmed that the pilots’ pay tribunal was due to make its recommendations shortly.

The airline plans to hire 200 pilots this year and next as it expands its fleet and transatlantic business. More than 3,000 candidates applied for the first 100 positions, which it advertised recently.

The airline also said on Tuesday that Aer Lingus Regional is on track to fly more than 86,000 passengers on its Donegal to Dublin and Kerry to Dublin routes this year.

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