TRAVEL chaos is looming again for air passengers, as Aer Lingus cabin crew prepare to strike for 24 hours on the June bank holiday weekend.
It's the second time in two months that Aer Lingus staff have threatened to go on strike on a long weekend. This time the dispute relates to rostering.
Trade union IMPACT served notice on the airline yesterday, saying hundreds of cabin crew will engage in a stoppage for 24 hours from just after midnight on Friday, May 30. The industrial action will affect all flights to and from Dublin, Cork and Shannon.
The stoppage has been timed to take place just as many people will be preparing to head off for the bank holiday weekend, or to come home for a visit.
IMPACT official Michael Landers said cabin crew were ready to take immediate action because, he claimed, Aer Lingus management had failed to engage on the rostering issue.
"Cabin crew have sought to engage with the company on this issue on several occasions over several years, but the company has simply refused to consider anything other than the erratic rostering patterns that have become the norm," he said.
The union wants a roster system for cabin crew similar to that used for pilots, which allows for five work days followed by three days off.
A spokesman for Aer Lingus argued that the threatened industrial action "is completely unwarranted".
"We continue to engage in discussions with the trade union on the rostering issues in dispute," he said.
"It is unacceptable that the trade union has chosen to threaten disruption to customers' travel plans in pursuit of roster arrangements, which have such cost implications for our business that they are simply undeliverable."
The airline will do "all in our power" to prevent any disruption to customers' travel plans, added the spokesman.
Transport Minister Leo Varadkar called on the union and Aer Lingus to make full use of the Labour Relations Commission and Labour Court so a strike could be avoided.
Aer Lingus is currently suing trade union Siptu for as much as €3m after it threatened strike action for St Patrick's weekend that never took place. The DAA was also threatened with the action over a pensions dispute.
The High Court blocked the industrial action after granting an injunction to the DAA against Siptu.