Aer Lingus cancels dozen flights
Published 25/01/2011 | 15:13
Aer Lingus was forced to cancel a dozen flights today as a two-week row over cabin crew rosters showed no signs of a resolution.
Some 175 staff were written to, warning they will be sacked if they do not meet the controversial new working arrangements.
Opposition parties called for management and trade union chiefs at Impact to agree to go to the Labour Court to settle the dispute.
An Aer Lingus spokeswoman said six round trips to Britain or mainland Europe on high-frequency routes were pulled from schedules.
"Where possible, cancellations will be confined to routes with a high-frequency schedule," she said.
"This is to enable customers to be brought to their desired destination on the same day, on another direct flight."
Aer Lingus, which is hiring aircraft including from Ryanair to maintain schedules, said cancellations amount to less than 10% of the total flights for the day.
The cancelled flights affect Manchester, Prague, Dusseldorf and Amsterdam.
Simon Coveney, Fine Gael transport spokesman, claimed the dispute was putting the future of the company at stake.
"The leadership of Impact should sit down with senior Aer Lingus management, face to face, and agree an acceptable compromise that both sides can work with.
"The Irish economy has enough problems to deal with, without the continuation of an already-prolonged industrial relations dispute at Aer Lingus."
Joe Costello, Labour transport spokesman, said the dispute was a colossal cost to workers and the airline.
"The uncertainty that the dispute is causing in terms of attracting customers and generating business is undermining an already-weak aviation industry.
"It is not too late to step back from the brink."
Mr Costello urged Aer Lingus to agree to let the Labour Court rule on the dispute.
Martin Ferris, Sinn Fein spokesman on workers' rights, claimed the roster changes management brought in were not agreed with staff.
"Members of the workforce have, in effect, been locked out and many people have suffered severe inconvenience due to flight cancellations," Mr Ferris said.
"This situation is of the company's making. The cabin crew have already agreed to a pay cut, a reduction in holidays and other cost-cutting measures."