Monday 29 December 2014

Court bid to avoid St Patrick's Day airport strikes

By Aodhan O Faolain

Published 10/03/2014 | 02:30

A strike could cause chaos for Aer Lingus on St Patrick's weekend. Photographer: Tim Boyle/Bloomberg
A strike could cause chaos for Aer Lingus on St Patrick's weekend. Photographer: Tim Boyle/Bloomberg

High Court proceedings aimed at preventing Friday’s proposed strike by Siptu members at the country’s airports have commenced this morning.

The proposed industrial action, involving four-hour stoppages at Dublin, Cork and Shannon on Friday March 14, arises from the long-running dispute over cuts in pension benefits at Aer Lingus and the DAA.

In proceedings against Siptu, Ryanair and the DAA want the High Court to grant injunctions preventing the proposed strike going ahead.

The applications are being opposed by the trade union.

This morning the matter opened before Mr Justice Paul Gilligan at the High Court.

The judge  was told by lawyers for the various parties that the hearing of the injunction applications will be completed within the day.

Last week both Ryanair and the DAA  separately secured leave to serve short notice of their proceedings against Siptu.

Both the DAA and Ryanair claim the proposed strike  would result in Dublin airport being shut down during one of the busiest weekends of the year. Friday is the start of the St Patrick’s holiday weekend and also coincided with the Ireland/France rugby match and the Cheltenham horse racing festival.

Union members at both Aer Lingus and the DAA voted for industrial action last month over a €780m deficit in the Irish Airlines Superannuation Scheme (IASS), a pension scheme jointly operated by Aer Lingus and the DAA.

After separate negotiations between unions, the DAA, and Aer Lingus ended without a resolution late last month, Siptu notified the DAA, Cork and Shannon airports and Aer Lingus that its members planned to stop work between 5am and 9am on March 14th.

The planned action would ground flights and lead to closure of the airports as staff in critical services such as fire crews and air traffic control are union members.

Irish Independent

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