Dublin Airport facing potential industrial action, as unions to ballot members

Unite and Connect to hold vote among craft workers, including airfield electricians

Workers to ballot on potential strike action include airfield electricians

Workers to ballot on potential strike action include airfield electricians

 

Dublin Airport is facing potential strikes in the weeks ahead by craft workers.

The Unite and Connect trade unions said on Friday that they would be balloting members for industrial action.

Connect said it would be holding a protective ballot of its craft-worker members which would allow for a strike to take place if airport operator, Daa, proceeded with any move to out-source some services.

Connect said it represented the majority of electrical and mechanical craft workers employed by Daa, including airfield electricians who play a key role in the operation of runways at the airport.

About a month ago the Daa indicated that it was to move to outsource the provision of frontline maintenance services.

The company said at the time the move followed the rejection by more than 100 craft workers, represented by Unite and Connect of proposals for work-practice changes.

Unite said on Friday that its craft-worker members had subsequently agreed in a second ballot to accept a Labour Court recommendation on the issue.

However Unite said that there had been “a complete U-turn” by management at Daa, which was now not to implement the terms of the Labour Court recommendation including access to options such as voluntary severance.

Third-party provider

Unite regional officer Willie Quigley said on Friday: “The company is now in contravention of a recommendation which they originally accepted.”

“Instead of engaging in good faith, the company has demanded that future engagement be limited to the single topic of outsourcing our members’ work to a third-party service provider. It is our members’ strong view that the company’s sole focus is on advancing its outsourcing agenda – an agenda which we are not prepared to accept.

Connect regional secretary, Sean Heading, said: “The Daa threat [regarding outsourcing] results from a dispute between management and our members concerning an attempt to force them to adopt work-practice changes without agreement. To threaten workers with an end to their employment unless they accept changes is not a proper manner in which to conduct industrial relations.”

Connect assistant general secretary Brian Nolan maintained the Daa was seeking to use the Covid crisis in the aviation industry “to destroy highly professional, good jobs”. He said his members were “greatly angered by this management approach”.

A Daa spokesman said the company would study the contents of the correspondence received from the unions and revert with a considered response.

“From the onset of the crisis in aviation created by Covid-19, Daa has engaged with all our trade unions on a weekly basis to update them on the impact of the crisis and to agree an approach to right size the business and introduce new ways of working across all areas. This engagement has resulted in 25 agreements being reached with 2,000 colleagues covering 93 per cent of our employees.

“The changes sought under the New Ways Of Working proposals were cross terminals working, follow the work, roster changes, technology enablement and clean as you go. The degree of change required varied across the different areas of the business, with some seeing considerably more change than others.

“The change requested from the workers in the asset management division was no different and, in many areas, considerably less than that sought from other colleagues across our business.”