Category: Archive

Strike Zone

February 16, 2011

By Staff Reporter

By Andrew Bushe

DUBLIN — Efforts are being made this week to head off two additional days of strikes at Aer Lingus after a 24-hour stoppage last Friday caused travel chaos for 20,000 passengers.

About 3,000 clerks and operatives who are members of SIPTU grounded all of the airline’s planes in a campaign for a new pay and conditions deal.

The stoppage went ahead despite a last-minute intervention by the National implementation Body.

The NIB was set up when the Program for Prosperity and Peace pay deal was re-negotiated to oversee a joint union and management commitment to industrial peace and stability.

The airline, which is already reeling from the financial impact of passenger cancellations because of the foot-and-mouth disease, faces further stoppages by SIPTU on Friday, April 6, and Holy Thursday, April 12, which is a busy day in advance of the Easter weekend holiday.

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Aer Lingus has been hit by a series of industrial campaigns and stoppages by staff that have been complicated by interunion rivalry between the SIPTU and IMPACT trade unions. The strikes are costing the airline more than £2 million a day.

A spokesman described the SIPTU action as "completely unjustified" and criticized the short notice given by the union.

"It is extremely disappointing that SIPTU has not responded positively to continuing dialogue rather than causing unnecessary disruption to our customers," the spokesman said.

SIPTU branch secretary Owen Reidy accused the company of treating his members like "second-class citizens."

The clerks and operatives were awarded pay increases last November and December.

However, cabin crew — most of them members of IMPACT — have since negotiated a wage deal with the airline after their series of stoppages. Now the clerks and operatives want to maintain their pay relativity.

The airline has yet to settle with the pilots. They are seeking wage increases of up to 70 percent.

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