Aer Lingus cabin crew detail their grievances that triggered today's strike
AER Lingus passengers were today left stranded after the airline’s cabin crew staff began a day-long strike over roster arrangements. More than 200 flights and the travel plans of around 30,000 people have been hit by the industrial action.
The 24-hour strike was called in a dispute between management and staff, with cabin crew arguing that current roster arrangements were unacceptable.
They say that the erratic rosters have left staff exposed to excessive fatigue.
It has been estimated that the strike action will cost Aer Lingus €10m.
Representatives of the cabin crew are due to meet with the airline for talks next week, in an attempt to prevent any further action.
The first effects of the strike were felt as hundreds of Dublin to Boston passengers were last night refused pre-flight immigration clearance in Dublin.
Passengers were told that the US team that supervises the service, would not offer the service on the flight.
The flight had been arranged specifically to accommodate passengers who were due to fly out today, but had their lights cancelled due to the strike.
Aer Lingus has cancelled most of its flights scheduled for today.
Trade union Impact, which represents the crew, has placed pickets at the airports in Dublin, Cork and Shannon from this morning.
Meanwhile crew are expected to march to the airline’s headquarters at Dublin Airport to had a letter of protest to chief executive Christoph Mueller.
Impact has said it will accept an invitation by Aer Lingus to attend new talks on cabin crew rosters.
The crew have asked for the introduction of a fixed roster with five days on, followed by three days off – similar to the Aer Lingus pilots’ roster.
Sources said talks between the two sides were not likely to get under way until the middle of next week.
Maire NiChleirigh , who has worked at the company for 25-years, said that the roster arrangements made life very difficult for people with children.
"The rosters we currently get are very unpredictable, we don't know more than a couple of weeks in advance what we'll be doing.
"Even when we do have a roster in front of us, they're subject to extreme changes," she said.
"I spoke to a colleague, she checked in for her duty and discovered that within 48-hours she was going to be out of the country for for three days.
"She has small children, her husband has had to emigrate for work. That kind of thing is not sustainable," she said.
Her colleague Killian Brennan added that while nobody wanted to be out on strike, the rosters were causing serious stress for staff.
"It's very difficult to juggle their responsibilities with their personal lives with the rosters," he said.
An Aer Lingus spokesman said that its cabin crew had “some of the most favourable working conditions in Ireland".
He said that the strike should never have gone ahead.