Business Irish

Friday 22 August 2014

DAA seeks injunction to stop SIPTU from taking industrial action at airports

John Mulligan

Published 07/03/2014 | 12:06

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Planes on the tarmac at Dublin Airport
Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport Leo Varadkar

The Dublin Airport Authority (DAA) has sought an injunction to prevent trade union Siptu from holding industrial action at Dublin and Cork airports next week.

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The industrial action is set to take place between 5am and 9am next Friday and promises to cause major disruption at Dublin, Cork and Shannon Airports.

The DAA said it had “no choice” but to seek the injunction in the High Court. It said Siptu had “failed to respond positively to two separate communications requiring the threat of industrial action to be lifted”.

“DAA is seeking an injunction on the basis that the proposed action by Siptu is unlawful, as it is contrary to the provisions of the Industrial Relations Act,” claimed the DAA this morning.

“Siptu only balloted a portion of its membership on the proposal and the planned work stoppages are also contrary to existing agreements between the company and the trade union,” added the semi-state company.

Siptu has been criticised by business groups and Transport Minister Leo Varadkar for failing to call off next Friday’s planned work stoppages despite a new government-brokered initiative having got underway to help resolve a long-running pensions row. An expert panel has been established to review the pensions issue and will issue a preliminary report by the end of the month.

The union has also served Aer Lingus with notice of industrial action for next Friday. The airline has already been rescheduling flights and re-booking passengers.

Aer Lingus chief executive Christoph Mueller wrote to staff this morning outlining what he said where aspects of the “complex” pensions issue. Aer Lingus management are due to meet the new expert panel today regarding the pensions issue.

“A quick solution now needs to be found to avoid a further deterioration of the IASS situation,” said Mr Mueller.

The DAA said: “SIPTU’s threatened industrial action is unwarranted and has already caused significant inconvenience for DAA’s airline customers and passengers at Dublin and Cork airports.

It said it intends to “pursue all avenues at its disposal to avert this action by Siptu and to keep its airports fully operational”.

Siptu officials are due to meet the newly-created expert panel at lunchtime today.

The DAA controls Dublin and Cork airports. Shannon is now a separate, standalone entity.

Ryanair has also been granted leave to seek a High Court injunction against SIPTU’s plan to shut down Dublin, Cork and Shannon Airports for four hours next Friday.

“Ryanair will not allow over 13,000 of its customers to be blackmailed by greedy SIPTU unions, particularly in the case of Aer Lingus where there is a defined contribution pension scheme and these staff have already received over €600m in pay-offs, pension top ups and free shares over the past 8 years."

"SIPTU’s attempt to shut down air access from the country’s three main airports is unlawful, unnecessary and unfair to passengers” said the company in a statement.

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