Category: Archive

Cabin crew strike will shut down Aer Lingus

February 16, 2011

By Staff Reporter

By Andrew Bushe

DUBLIN — Travelers face chaos this week following a decision by Aer Lingus to ground its fleet on Wednesday as a result of a planned 24-hour stoppage by cabin crew.

The shutdown follows the breakdown of weekend Labor Court talks involving airline management and the IMPACT trade union representing cabin crew.

The cabin crew had earlier overwhelmingly rejected a pay and conditions deal brokered by the Court.

The strike will hit three flights leaving from JFK, Newark and Boston on Tuesday and four flights from Amsterdam, Heathrow, Manchester and Paris on Thursday.

Aer Lingus described the strike as "totally unwarranted" and said it had been left with no alternative but to cancel scheduled operations.

Never miss an issue of The Irish Echo

Subscribe to one of our great value packages.

It said that during the 10 hours of talks on Sunday the union increased its pay claim by 50 percent. This added an additional £3 million to the £5.7 million to implement the original court recommendations.

"To concede IMPACT’s demands could put the existing pay agreements in the airline at risk and, in raising the airline’s cost base, seriously damage the profitability of Aer Lingus," an airline statement said.

"It is totally unsustainable from the company viewpoint and is a completely unreasonable demand."

IMPACT Assistant General Secretary Christina Carney said it "deeply regretted" being in a situation where passengers would be inconvenienced.

She said their members had rejected the Labor Court proposals by 99 percent and they had hoped a resolution of the dispute could have been reached at the weekend.

"The company is seeking that we immediately implement the full Labor Court recommendation that means for us institutionalizing a two-tier workforce and establishing draconian working conditions"

She said they also had difficulties with the pay proposals that meant people would have to wait 35 years to reach the maximum scale.

Aer Lingus said Mandate’s new demands would cost an extra £3 million but the union claimed this was an exaggeration.

Last October, a similar shutdown caused by a one-day strike by cabin crew grounded 200 flights and affected more 20,000 passengers. It was the first time in 20 years that all flights had been cancelled.

The cabin crew row is just one of a number of industrial disputes hitting Aer Lingus as it prepares to attract investors for a proposed floatation planned by the government.

Other Articles You Might Like

Sign up to our Daily Newsletter

Click to access the login or register cheese