Outrage over Aer Lingus threat to axe 1,100 staff
UNIONS reacted furiously after Aer Lingus officials announced 1,100 workers would be axed if staff rejected a cost-cutting plan in a ballot this week.
SIPTU held a general meeting for all its members in the airline last night to recommend the cost-cutting plan before that ballot began today.
Last night, the union said the airline's comments were not helpful and IMPACT spokesman Niall Shanahan dismissed them as "mischievous".
The unions are asking members to sign up to a package that will result in 676 redundancies, pay cuts of up to 10pc and a three-year pay freeze.
IMPACT, which represents pilots and cabin crew, has begun balloting its members. According to union sources, the results of the two votes won't be known until the second week in March.
Aer Lingus confirmed yesterday that chief executive Christoph Mueller and senior officials held a meeting on Monday to discuss a contingency plan to secure savings by cutting more jobs and routes if workers reject the pay and job cuts.
"There is a sense of complacency kicking in on the ground that the cost-saving plan may not go through because people may feel it is no longer required, that things have improved," said an Aer Lingus source yesterday.
Union leaders told this newspaper last week that workers were split down the middle on the proposals.
Meanwhile, Fine Gael TD Pat Breen, from Clare, called on Aer Lingus yesterday to clarify "as a matter of urgency" what plans it had for its maintenance base at Shannon.
Fears Aer Lingus would shift the base were raised after chairman Colm Barrington said Hangar 6, in Dublin Airport, was the only facility that could accommodate more than one of the airline's A330 transatlantic jets.