Two more pilots suspended as strike looms

 

Aer Lingus passengers look set to be disrupted on Thursday and possibly beyond as two more pilots were suspended in a dispute over new rostering.

Seven Aer Lingus pilots are now on suspension in the rostering dispute.

A company spokesman today said that "Aer Lingus is implementing the Survival Plan as the minimum required to return the airline to viability. All other parts of the company have accepted change.

"We are implementing the new work practices for pilots following an exhaustive six months process culminating in a ruling by an independent agreed arbitrator."

The spokesman also said that the Survival Plan allows the airline to offer our customers cheaper air fares and a wider network of services.

However, IMPACT assistant general secretary Mr Michael Landers, whose union represents the pilots, said yesterday that if Aer Lingus demands agreement to the new roster before pilots go back to work following the strike, "nobody will be going back on Friday morning".

Labour Party deputy for Dublin North East, Mr Tommy Broughan, has called for the immediate intervention of the Labour Relations Commission (LRC) in the dispute.

"Several pilots who are constituents of mine have pointed out that the new work practices are dangerous and have serious implications for passenger safety. It must be remembered that these practices were also rejected by almost all Aer Lingus pilots, including those at management level," he said.

Mr Broughan said that if the strike goes ahead it will have major economic consequences. "It is therefore in everyone’s interest that the LRC do all it can to avert the strike on Thursday," he said.

Aer Lingus has said that it "sincerely apologises to all customers for the disruption and inconvenience which results from IMPACT’s action".

Aer Lingus has hired aircraft and crews to operate some Dublin-London flights and Dublin-New York flight on Thursday.

World Cup supporters due to fly to Japan on Thursday will leave on Wednesday instead. Passengers have been advised to contact their travel agents or call the airline Helpline on 1800-222221.