Aer Lingus dispute settled
Published 04/02/2011 | 10:01
A costly dispute between Aer Lingus management and cabin crew ended this morning after overnight crunch talks with union leaders.
The airline expects to restore services to normal throughout the day after a deal was brokered in the row over new rosters with industrial relations trouble-shooters.
The Impact trade union said it had stood down its campaign of industrial action while management agreed to delete from staff records the records of recent disciplinary procedures related to the walkout.
The dispute, which was in its third week, has grounded dozens of flights and hundreds of passengers.
It centred on new rosters introduced without union agreement.
More than 300 workers were removed from the payroll for failing to abide by the new rosters, which Impact claimed were unreasonable.
However, the union said that, after days of talks at the Labour Relations Commission (LRC), virtually all the issues of disagreement had been resolved between the parties. Final arbitration is required on two issues to complete the process, which is expected within days.
"Impact always believed that a negotiated or arbitrated settlement was possible and we are almost there," said a spokesman.
"We want to see cabin crew quickly back on the payroll and working, and we look forward to the final arbitration outcome in the next few days.
"This has been a difficult time for cabin crew, who have found themselves off the payroll and in disciplinary procedures despite reporting for work and showing their willingness to keep aircraft flying. But they have shown great determination.
"This and the support of their union, their families, their colleagues and others means we are now close to a satisfactory outcome."
Both parties also signed up to "industrial peace" for the duration of the cost-cutting Greenfield agreement and to resolve any future disputes through normal procedures.
The union maintained that the controversial rosters could change working times by three hours on the day of duty, making it impossible to plan childcare; the introduction of "double" shifts; and the removal of meal breaks from European flights.
Michael Grealy, director of human resources at Aer Lingus, confirmed that staff would begin to return to the payroll with immediate effect.
He advised passengers to check the website for details while flights were returning to normal.
Mr Grealy said that, while Impact agreed that members would work the 850 hours rosters, Aer Lingus had approved a number of quality-of- life issues surrounding meal breaks, rest periods and time off.
"For our part we've got on our rosters our 850 hours, and I think Impact will be able to point to the fact they've managed to secure a lot of concessions from Aer Lingus in respect of quality of work life issues," he told RTE radio.