Business Irish

Saturday 27 May 2017

Craft workers at Aer Lingus accept cost-cutting plan

John Mulligan and Patricia McDonagh

CRAFT workers at Aer Lingus last night voted by a majority of 83pc to accept the airline's proposed €97m restructuring plan.

It comes as the board of Aer Lingus is due to meet early this morning to discuss plans for pushing through the annual staff cost-savings after cabin crew members, represented by IMPACT, rejected measures last Friday.

The rejection of the deal has increased the likelihood of compulsory redundancies at the airline unless IMPACT representatives can come to a fresh agreement over planned job cuts and salary reductions.

But Aer Lingus boss Christoph Mueller, already running behind schedule on securing final union approval for €97m in annual savings, will be reluctant to participate in extended negotiations with IMPACT.

Close to 1,500 cabin crew members rejected the planned cutbacks in a ballot last week by a majority of 59pc to 41pc, despite union leaders having recommended the deal.

In a statement yesterday, Aer Lingus said it remained "determined" to achieve the annual cost-savings.

Last night, UNITE described the result of the ballot for craft workers a "substantial majority" and insisted it showed craft workers were prepared to continue to support the company.

Three of the airline unions were involved in the ballot, UNITE, SIPTU and the TEEU.

"These savings are vital to realign the cost base of the company," the statement said, adding that the directors' meeting this morning would "formally approve the steps that must now be taken to achieve these cost-savings".

Postpone

The refusal of IMPACT members to endorse the savings also forced Aer Lingus to postpone today's planned release of preliminary results for 2009.

Instead, a brief trading update will be issued. The company is expected to report a loss of about €85m.

The airline needs to be able to communicate a firm update to investors who have now been waiting five months for the full transformation plan to be adopted.

It's now likely to be at least two weeks before those preliminary financial results will be released.

Irish Independent

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