Industrial action looms in row over workload at Aer Arann
Published 17/03/2010 | 05:00
AER Arann flights may be grounded after a union representing its engineers threatened strikes over a new deal with Aer Lingus.
SIPTU is set to serve notice of industrial action on the airline after claiming that up to 50 workers are being instructed to work extra nights for no additional reward.
It said their night allowance of €1,500 a year is one of the lowest rates in the aviation industry. The union said their increased workload came not long after they took a minimum 7pc pay cut.
It said they were being burdened with extra work and new shift arrangements as a result of a new deal between Aer Lingus and Aer Arann.
Last January, the two airlines announced they had agreed a franchise arrangement, branded Aer Lingus Regional, although the service will use Aer Arann aircraft and crew.
Under the deal, Aer Arann will run 12 routes from Dublin and Cork to Britain and France that includes existing flights and three new routes. Aer Lingus said Aer Arann would have full operational responsibility for the services while it would get a franchise fee for providing its brand.
"Individuals are being expected to spend more time away from their home working base and again no reward is being offered to compensate them for the difficult unsocial hours," said SIPTU Branch Organiser Dermot O'Loughlin.
"For instance, a shift pattern may end when you are assigned to the Isle of Man on a Sunday but cannot come home as there are no flights until Monday."
In a letter to the airline, SIPTU's Civil Aviation Branch said it would inform the company of industrial action by Friday this week if it did not enter talks.
"We do not believe that the aircraft engineers should be instructed to alter their current shift patterns until matters in dispute are resolved," it said.
"We await your response. However, in the event of a further failure to respond we will advise you of our intentions as they pertain to industrial action, which will be no later than Friday."
A spokesman at Aer Arann said its HR department was aware of the letter but would not comment as it does not recognise the union.
Meanwhile, in a separate dispute, a union for 230 cabin crew at Aer Lingus who face compulsory redundancy has revealed it is not considering a ballot for industrial action at the moment.