Business Irish

Sunday 24 September 2017

Labour Court calls for 8.75pc pay rise for Aer Lingus staff

The deal, if agreed, would be paid over 39 months and would cost the airline more than €20m. Photo: Steve Humphreys
The deal, if agreed, would be paid over 39 months and would cost the airline more than €20m. Photo: Steve Humphreys

Fearghal O'Connor

Aer Lingus staff should be given a total pay rise of 8.75pc over 39 months, the Labour Court has recommended.

The court recommendation - which the airline's management will hope will break a standoff over pay - equates to an average annual pay rise of 2.7pc for many staff.

If agreed, such a deal is likely to cost the airline just over €20m for the period. That is less than half of what it would have cost the airline if an initial demand by trade unions for a 19.1pc pay rise over three years had been accepted.

The recommendation also postponed any productivity deal for at least three months and long-fingered demands for a profit-sharing scheme that the airline had feared could drive the cost of an agreement to over €100m.

Unions were seeking increases in pay, the introduction of profit sharing and the restoration of lost increments after what they described as "the exceptional financial performance of Aer Lingus".

But management had lodged a 49-page submission with the court that focused heavily on the difficult environment in which it is claimed Aer Lingus is now operating. It particularly highlighted the competitive pressures the airline now faces on short-haul routes from Ryanair and on transatlantic routes from Norwegian's new services from Dublin, Cork, Shannon and Belfast.

In its recommendation, the Labour Court said it noted in particular that there had not been a basic pay adjustment since 2010 although there had been "a number of lump sum payments".

The pay rise recommended by the Labour Court in this case compares unfavourably to other recent pay rises achieved by unions in the wider transport sector. For example, Dublin Bus workers were granted a 3.75pc pay rise per year for three years, despite that company's financial difficulties.

"Aer Lingus confirms receipt of the Labour Court recommendation relating to the pay claim lodged by Ictu, Siptu, Impact, Unite and the TEEU.

"We are reviewing the details of the recommendation and will clarify our position on the various matters contained therein in due course," said a spokesman.

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