Aer Lingus strikes compromise with unions

Deal timely as airline hopes to restart flying within weeks

Aer Lingus has agreed with unions that it will row back from cost-cutting plans Photograph: Tom Honan

Aer Lingus has agreed with unions that it will row back from cost-cutting plans Photograph: Tom Honan

Your Web Browser may be out of date. If you are using Internet Explorer 9, 10 or 11 our Audio player will not work properly.
For a better experience use Google Chrome, Firefox or Microsoft Edge.

 

Signs that a deal may be possible with Aer Lingus unions have probably come just in time for the Irish airline, which, along with all others in Europe, has been largely grounded by Covid-19 travel bans for the past three months, but now hopes to restart some flying within weeks.

Aer Lingus has agreed with unions, including Siptu and Fórsa, that it will row back from cost-cutting plans due to run until August, including further pay cuts and reducing staff levels to 30 per cent, and reverse plans for temporary lay-offs at Shannon. In return, staff must agree to work-practice changes.

Many of these involve greater flexibility in turning aircraft around, preparing them for takeoff and aiding in boarding passengers. There will also, not surprisingly, be new practices for cleaning craft. Some workers will also be trained to carry out extra duties outside their existing roles.

Available work will determine pay, so three days rostered and paid will equate to 60 per cent. The agreement notes that this should increase as time goes on. Unions cannot seek any pay increases, or submit any pay claims, until February 28th, 2022, the period covered by the agreement.

The date at least gives a sense of how long Aer Lingus thinks it will be dealing with the fallout from what is generally agreed to be the worst crisis to hit commercial aviation in the industry’s history. Nevertheless, the document indicates that the airline sees difficulties easing through that time, as it suggests that workloads will increase over the document’s lifetime.

Whatever the likely speed of recovery, workers will have to agree to the deal for the compromise to succeed. News of their acceptance or otherwise will emerge in coming days.

If they do agree, Aer Lingus will at least be able to focus on its plans to restart some services from July 1st. Likely destinations include popular sun spots such as the Costa del Sol, Canaries and Costa Blanca. Many sun-starved Irish people will be hoping those services take off.

If they do, Aer Lingus and its workers will be flying into a future very different from what they had expected in January.

The Irish Times Logo
Commenting on The Irish Times has changed. To comment you must now be an Irish Times subscriber.
SUBSCRIBE
GO BACK
Error Image
The account details entered are not currently associated with an Irish Times subscription. Please subscribe to sign in to comment.
Comment Sign In

Forgot password?
The Irish Times Logo
Thank you
You should receive instructions for resetting your password. When you have reset your password, you can Sign In.
The Irish Times Logo
Please choose a screen name. This name will appear beside any comments you post. Your screen name should follow the standards set out in our community standards.
Screen Name Selection

Hello

Please choose a screen name. This name will appear beside any comments you post. Your screen name should follow the standards set out in our community standards.

The Irish Times Logo
Commenting on The Irish Times has changed. To comment you must now be an Irish Times subscriber.
SUBSCRIBE
Forgot Password
Please enter your email address so we can send you a link to reset your password.

Sign In

Your Comments
We reserve the right to remove any content at any time from this Community, including without limitation if it violates the Community Standards. We ask that you report content that you in good faith believe violates the above rules by clicking the Flag link next to the offending comment or by filling out this form. New comments are only accepted for 3 days from the date of publication.