Aer Lingus won't back down on cabin crew cuts
Published 19/03/2010 | 05:00
AER Lingus will meet a state mediation agency today over its threat to sack 230 cabin crew.
But the airline insisted it would not renegotiate its €97m cost-cutting survival plan, which the cabin crew rejected in a ballot.
Earlier this week, the airline revealed it would not engage in any new talks with the cabin crew's union IMPACT on its rescue plan, which was accepted by a majority of staff.
IMPACT has also accepted an invitation to meet the Labour Relations Commission (LRC) today, following its request that the commission intervene.
The commission will meet both parties separately to hear their views on the impasse.
Today's meeting follows the airline's announcement that it plans to let go more than 1,000 IMPACT cabin crew after they rejected its plan.
It threatened to rehire them on lower pay and conditions and then make 230 compulsorily redundant, with just the minimum statutory redundancy payment.
IMPACT said it had contacted the LRC to see if it would be possible to reconvene the parties "with a view to achieving a negotiated solution to disputed cost-saving measures". It said it recommended approval of the measures to cabin crew but acknowledged that aspects of the proposals would be very difficult for them to accept.
Meanwhile, Ryanair claims it has seen a 40pc rise in online bookings as a three-day strike at British Airways looms tomorrow. Last-ditch peace talks were under way last night after UNITE, which represents the majority of the BA cabin crew, announced it would strike from March 20 to March 22 and between March 27 and March 30. Ryanair also said it has provided three spare aircraft to the airline to minimise passenger disruption as a result of the action by the "greedy" UNITE union.
Although BA no longer runs direct flights in or out of the Republic, it is believed that hundreds of Irish passengers booked on its flights may be affected. A spokesperson at BA said it could not quantify passengers by nationality.
Ryanair said its website traffic had risen dramatically in the last few days. "There has been a 40pc in website traffic and flight searches in the past week which can be attributed to former BA passengers checking and booking Ryanair flights as an alternative to the strike-disrupted flights," said a spokesperson.