Wednesday 20 September 2017

Aer Lingus gives assurances on jobs

Maeve Sheehan

Maeve Sheehan

AER LINGUS plans to outsource some of its operations in human resources but has given assurances that no jobs will be lost, unions have said.

The airline wants to outsource the operation of the payroll and accounts payable departments. It's estimated 40 staff will be affected, but they have been told they will be redeployed elsewhere in the company, said unions.

Talks between management and unions, Impact and Siptu, are ongoing. The unions, which are arguing to keep the payroll function within the company, claim they have been assured no jobs will be lost.

Jason Palmer, Siptu's aviation sector organiser, said: "The talks are under way. What we are trying to get is logistical and financial information from the company because the proposals don't make financial or logistical sense to us at the moment."

Aer Lingus faced a mass strike when it proposed outsourcing its Dublin ground operations in 2008. Strike was averted when management and unions entered talks. The result was a redundancy scheme that allowed 715 staff to leave and return for lower pay. Aer Lingus was subsequently slapped with a €30m tax bill when Revenue examined the scheme.

Since then the airline has outsourced low-key functions, such as in its IT department.

The airline is in the middle of a cost-cutting plan in what it has called a "difficult" trading environment. The so-called Greenfield plan made savings of €50m last year -- half of the €97m it hoped to save -- and €100m this year. Siptu has agreed to 237 voluntary redundancies over the duration of the two year cost-saving plan at the airline.

One cost-saving measure has seen Aer Lingus downgrade its headquarters. The airline has vacated a 10-acre site it leased in Dublin Airport to a disused hangar. The move means it will be paid back €22m by the Dublin Airport Authority for surrendering the lease.

Aer Lingus declined to comment on the outsourcing.

Sunday Independent

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