Aer Lingus has laid off more than 100 further staff until 2022, despite moves to reopen air travel in July.
Permanent seasonal cabin crew - who work with the airline each year during the busy summer season - have been told they will not be required until next year.
The airline has also revealed that it will “buy in non-core services” for a number of smaller departments, including load planning.
“This afternoon, with no notice, we were informed that our Permanent Seasonal colleagues will continue on lay-off until 2022,” a trade union official said in a memo to cabin crew at the airline.
“This is very upsetting news for these colleagues who we have worked with side-by-side. We are devastated to hear this news and we will be engaging with the company.”
The news of the 110 new lay-offs followed a letter last Monday to trade unions in which the airline had reiterated “the potential for further lay-offs and the prospect of redundancies”
“As you are aware, the situation remains extremely fluid and we cannot discount further immediate decisions needing to be taken,” wrote Sean Murphy, executive director of HR & Dublin Airport Operations. “Therefore we ask and encourage, that in advance of our next meeting, you and your colleagues reflect on the seriousness of the situation.”
Following that warning the airline confirmed in documents sent to trade unions further details of the wage cuts and structural changes first reported last week by the Sunday Independent.
Newly-hired Aer Lingus cabin crew will be paid just above minimum wage under the new cost-cutting proposals prepared by management. Cabin crew will start on €23,261 - just €50 a week more than the minimum wage and almost €3,000 less than the current entry point for the airline’s flight crew.
Under the proposals, new staff will continue to have access to the airline’s defined contribution pension fund but Aer Lingus will cut its contribution to this for them to 7pc from 10pc, while sick pay and other terms and conditions will also be altered.
The structural changes that management hope to push through to stabilise the airline, which is losing up to €1m per day, would mean two new increment points added below the pay scale for staff who joined the airline after 2012.
Older staff will see the top three points removed from their separate 15-point pay scale and those currently on those top three increment levels will have their pay cut to reflect the change. All crew will have their pay frozen until 2026.
One source at the airline said that there was a huge amount of tension amongst staff over the proposals. There was nervousness amongst older staff that if the stringent cutbacks came to ballot of all staff that younger staff would be likely to accept proposals so as to save their jobs whereas older staff would be reluctant to what would amount to permanent wage cuts worth thousands of euro. Some cabin crew on so-called legacy contracts could lose at least €6,000 per year, said the source.
“They are trying to split the camp,” said the source. “There is no way we are going to allow staff on different terms and conditions vote on our terms and conditions if this is put to ballot. That would be like students voting to lower the pay of teachers.”
There is fear amongst staff that should the airline fail to radically alter terms and conditions, that it could then move to a new phase of outsourcing in ground operations and redundancies amongst cabin crew. “If this plan is rejected the airline could look for about 400 or 500 redundancies,” said the source.