Aer Lingus drops its €3m Siptu legal action
Published 05/05/2015 | 02:30
Aer Lingus has quietly dropped a multi-million euro lawsuit against trade union Siptu for damages it claimed the airline incurred as a result of threatened strike action.
In an unprecedented move, Aer Lingus initiated High Court proceedings last year against Siptu and union organiser Dermot O'Loughlin.
In a plenary summons prepared by lawyers for Aer Lingus, the airline said intended to seek damages for alleged "conspiracy" and "unlawful interference" with its business. Siptu had intended to contest the claims.
It is believed the claim by the airline could have run to as much as €3m.
Aer Lingus also sought a declaration from the court that a ballot undertaken by Siptu, which led to the serving of notice of industrial action, was unlawful because it was not held in accordance with the Industrial Relations Act.
Last week, Dublin Bus and Bus Eireann said they were initiating legal proceedings against Siptu and the National Bus and Rail Union in a claim for alleged financial losses and reputational damage incurred through industrial action on Friday and Saturday, which the bus companies have claimed was illegal.
Dublin Bus claimed it lost revenue of about €600,000 on each day of the strike, while Bus Eireann said it would lose €1.5m in total.
The action by Aer Lingus against Siptu set a particular precedent because no strike action had actually occurred.
The High Court had granted injunctions to the Dublin Airport Authority to prevent the four-hour strike from proceeding.
But Aer Lingus said it had already lost millions of euro in revenue because the threatened strike action had prompted potential passengers not to book tickets with it. The airline also had to hire aircraft in advance of the planned strike in order to maintain services.
It said at the time: "The cloud of uncertainty created by the strike threat has damaged Aer Lingus' business and disrupted thousands of our customers."
Siptu had said that it planned to "vigorously" resist the action in the courts.
The intended strike action was planned due to what had been a long-running pensions dispute that has since been resolved.
Sources said the it was agreed between the airline and unions that the legal action would be discontinued as part of the process to tackle the resolution of that pensions issue.