Aer Lingus staff divided over €97m cuts plan ahead of vote
Unions at Aer Lingus yesterday admitted they have a 'hard sell' on their hands as they begin balloting their members on a €97m cost-saving plan agreed with management.
The plan will result in 600 redundancies, pay cuts of up to 10pc and a three-year pay freeze.
A controversial "leave-and-return" scheme over a year ago allowed employees to take a redundancy package of nine weeks' pay per year of service tax free. The staff could then return to work with lower pay and conditions.
Now workers are being asked to accept similar pay cuts and changes to work practices without any financial gain.
Union sources said the greatest opposition to the latest proposal was among clerical staff at head office, baggage handlers, catering and cargo workers -- who did not avail of the scheme, but now face banded pay cuts on earnings above €45,000.
SIPTU is holding a meeting today to discuss the plan before it begins balloting next week.
"There's some animosity between workers over this proposal," said a senior source at Dublin Airport, "Even those who chose not to take part in the scheme are arguing that they will be getting nothing . . . . I would say workers are split down the middle."
The workforce of more than 3,000 is set to ballot on the plan from this week.