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Aer Lingus staff demand 15pc pay boost and more holidays


Headache for Aer Lingus CEO Sean Doyle

Headache for Aer Lingus CEO Sean Doyle

Headache for Aer Lingus CEO Sean Doyle

Aer Lingus trade unions have lodged a claim on behalf of staff for a 15pc pay increase worth up to €60m, as well as a demand for more holidays and improved flight concessions.

The pay claim was sent to the airline last week by the Irish Congress of Trade Unions (ICTU) on behalf of Siptu, Fórsa, Unite and Connect, the Sunday Independent has learned.

The unions are seeking the new deal for staff ahead of the end of their current pay agreement, due to run out in June next year. It is likely to be rejected by a management team that in recent weeks said it was planning to outsource the airline's catering department in a bid to cut costs.

Staff are seeking a 4pc increase in pay by July 2020, another 4pc increase by July 2021 and a further 4pc rise by July 2022. If successful, such a claim would mean a cumulative 15pc pay rise for staff - adding up to €60m to the airline's employee costs - when extra PRSI and pension payments are taken into account.

A demand by the unions for the addition of two more points at the top of each incremental pay scale would add at least a further 4pc to the claim, it is understood.

In addition, unions have demanded an increase in annual leave entitlement of two days per year, which would mean an extra 6,600 total holiday days for staff. The unions are also seeking an extra "positive" ticket, which allows staff to book flights in advance using their airline concessions.

As part of the pay claim, the trade unions have further ramped up their ongoing but so far unsuccessful bid to wrangle a potentially very lucrative profit-sharing scheme from the company.

The Labour Court recommended in January that instead of the type of scheme sought by the airline's workers, Aer Lingus should give them a 1pc pay rise and pay each staff member €300 in vouchers on a one-off basis, but this has been roundly rejected by trade unions.

The pay claim will come as an unwelcome development for CEO Sean Doyle, who is dealing with an already tense industrial relations atmosphere following the outsourcing announcement.

An Aer Lingus spokeswoman said that in 2017, it and the ICTU coalition of unions had accepted a Labour Court recommendation in relation to pay for the period from 2017 to 2020.

"In the normal way, Aer Lingus will shortly commence engagement with the unions, with a view to reaching a new pay agreement for the post-2020 period," she said.

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