US cabin crews will hold St Patrick's Day protest
Published 12/03/2010 | 05:00
AMERICAN cabin crews will protest on St Patrick's Day after accusing Aer Lingus and their employer of putting thousands of aviation jobs at risk.
United Airlines flight attendants will demonstrate against a landmark deal between their airline and the Irish carrier, claiming their jobs are being outsourced.
The US staff vowed to "vehemently" oppose the airlines' decision not to use existing staff on a new route between Washington and Madrid that launches on March 28. Aer Lingus is hiring non-union staff in the Washington area to man the new route as part of a corporate partnership with United Airlines announced last year.
Cabin crew demonstrations are being organised in Chicago and Washington just days after Aer Lingus announced 230 compulsory redundancies among cabin crew in the Republic. Impact said the development in the US raised "very serious concerns" about future recruitment and conditions for cabin crew.
The US-based Association of Flight Attendants (AFA) said staff were furious at the new deal as it "poses an enormous threat to job security for United flight attendants and workers across the aviation industry".
A spokesperson for Aer Lingus confirmed the jobs were non-union and were being recruited in the US, but said it had created job opportunities.
However, the AFA claims the deal is designed to test the response of workers and governments to a "new method of circumventing existing job protections and outsource work".