Strike threat averted at Stobart Air after talks commitment

Fórsa had voted for industrial action earlier this week in dispute over pay and conditions

Stobart flies Aer Lingus Regional services between the Republic and provincial British airports. Photograph: Bryan O’Brien

Stobart flies Aer Lingus Regional services between the Republic and provincial British airports. Photograph: Bryan O’Brien

 

Cabin crew have dropped a strike threat at Stobart Air that could potentially have grounded Aer Lingus Regional flights, after the airline agreed to talks with their union.

Directly employed members of trade union Fórsa voted for industrial action at Stobart this week in a dispute over recognition, pay and conditions.

Fórsa confirmed that Stobart had agreed to negotiate cabin crew pay and conditions with the union, saying it was seeking an early meeting to discuss recognition.

The move ends a threat of strike at Stobart that could have hit the Aer Lingus Regional services, flown by the airline for its bigger partner.

Fórsa indicated after confirming the vote’s result on Wednesday that it was considering serving strike notice on Stobart, but the company’s response means the organisation will not now do this.

The union said that the cabin crew’s vote prompted Stobart to agree to talks. Official Ashley Connolly said staff had shown strong commitment in the face of a company that had been determined not to deal with Fórsa.

“Our ballot result reflected the strength of feeling and determination of Stobart cabin crew, and it gave the union a clear and effective mandate to win union recognition and work for better pay and conditions,” Ms Connolly said.

Collaborative

A Stobart spokeswoman said that the airline was “pleased with progress today and that industrial action has been withdrawn in the interest of staff, partners, passengers and our business”.

She added that the airline had a collaborative relationship with staff and was committed to dialogue and engagement.

Fórsa’s 100-plus Stobart members would have to vote again to revive any threat of industrial action.

The union would also have to ballot them should it agree any deal with the company. In both cases Fórsa believes a vote could be completed quickly.

Stobart flies Aer Lingus Regional services between the Republic and provincial British airports, under contract to the bigger airline.

Industrial action could have hit these flights, which provide valuable links to Britain along with feeder traffic for Aer Lingus’s transatlantic business.