Wednesday 18 October 2017

Ryanair to vote against Begg's re-election to Aer Lingus board

David Begg, SIPTU. Photo:Arthur Carron/Collins
David Begg, SIPTU. Photo:Arthur Carron/Collins
Nick Webb

Nick Webb

RYANAIR is set to vote against the re-election of trades union grandee David Begg to the board of Aer Lingus at the airline's AGM in four weeks' time. Sources have confirmed that Michael O'Leary's low-cost airline will use its large voting stake in a bid to block Begg's continued board presence.

Begg, the General Secretary of the Irish Congress of Trades Unions, has been a director at Aer Lingus since 2008. He was a representative on the employee share ownership trust at the semi-state company before it floated. The latest Aer Lingus annual report shows that Begg was paid €32,000 by the airline last year. He holds 500 shares in the company, worth a cool €850. Last year, Begg was saved from the humiliation of being voted off the Aer Lingus board by the intervention of the Government.

Voting records from the Aer Lingus AGM revealed that 45.8 per cent of investors voted against the re-election of Begg to the board, with Ryanair leading the way with its 29 per cent stake.

About 176 million of 384 million shares were used to vote against the bearded union boss.

The State holds a 25 per cent stake in the €900m-valued listed airline, dating back to the flotation in 2006. Less than 0.2 per cent of shareholders abstained from the vote, indicating that the State cast its vote for the trade union chief.

Begg has a large portfolio of board memberships. He is also a director of the Central Bank (since 1995), a governor of the Irish Times Trust, Non-Executive Director of Aer Lingus, a member of the National Economic and Social Council (NESC), and of the Advisory Board of Development Co-operation Ireland.

He also sits on the Executive Committee of the European Trade Union Confederation (ETUC), according to the ICTU website.

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