Airline staff to vote on revamp scheme
MORE than 3,000 Aer Lingus workers are set to vote on a €97m cost-cutting plan that will mean more than 600 redundancies and pay cuts up to 10pc.
Unions have reached agreement on a restructuring scheme known as Project Greenfield that was announced by the airline last October.
Balloting is expected to begin this week, despite unions not having a mandate for industrial action, which has been the norm in recent years.
Payroll costs will be slashed by €74m as the airline plans to bring in banded pay cuts up to 10pc and a flat 10pc reduction for pilots from March 1 as well as a three-year pay freeze.
Six agreements were signed off with unions representing pilots, craft workers, Impact cabin crew, Siptu cabin crew, Siptu ground and support staff at head office, and middle management grades following intense talks.
The number of redundancies to take place over two years if the proposed agreement is accepted by staff will be less than the 676 originally announced by management.
This is because roughly 100 of the redundancies are among fixed-term contract staff, some of whose contracts have already not been renewed. In addition, the number of pilots to go is expected to be about 70 rather than the original target of 105.
Sources said the most highly paid older pilots were likely to opt for the voluntary redundancy deal, which would lead to similar savings as a higher number of lower-paid staff.
Straw polls taken by unions mean they are hopeful they will get the required numbers to avoid the possibility of compulsory job losses.
Staff will be given two voluntary severance payment options.
The first is four weeks' pay per year of service, including statutory entitlements, to a maximum of 104 weeks.
The second is four weeks' pay to a maximum of 104 weeks, plus statutory entitlements, and a service bonus, but capped at €180,000. The bonus is applied at €5,000 after 10 years, €7,500 after 12 years and €10,000 after 15 years.
The deficit in the pilots' pension fund is also being add-ressed as part of the proposal, which will mean a 50pc increase in staff pension contributions and a rise in the retirement age.