Tuesday 20 February 2018

More flights grounded as Air Lingus talks drag on

Anne-Marie Walsh Industry Correspondent

PASSENGERS face more disruption at Aer Lingus today as 20 flights are expected to be cancelled as the row with cabin crew over longer working hours showed no sign of a breakthrough.

Flights from Dublin Airport to Heathrow, Birmingham, Paris, Malaga, Amsterdam, Prague and Boston, and the return flights, will be grounded today. Three round trips between Cork Airport and Heathrow, Paris and Amsterdam are also due to be cancelled.

Talks between management and the cabin crew's union IMPACT adjourned shortly after 10pm last night and are due to resume this morning.at the Labour Relations Commission.

An Aer Lingus spokesperson said around 10pc of the airline's schedule would continue to be cancelled unless the dispute was resolved.

Sources at the Labour Relations Commission said the talks were still in an "exploratory phase" and had not got down to hard bargaining on the key issues. They said mediators were working through numerous roster changes that are being opposed by IMPACT members.

The airline wants to increase the cabin crews' flying hours to 850 hours a year, or 16 hours a week, which the staff agreed to in a ballot last year. They have already accepted changes to their rosters that bring their hours from under 700 hours to 830 hours, or 15 hours a week.

However, they have objected to a number of new provisions in the rosters including double shifts, cuts in "rest" time between flights and changes to meal breaks.

They have also objected to a provision that means the cabin crew must accept delays of up to three hours in their working day when they turn up for work, if there is a problem with a plane, for example.

Refused

Previously, they would only accept delays of up to two hours. The airline claims the cabin crew get time in lieu for any extra hours worked.

It believes there is very little change on many of these issues and the main objection is the increase in flying hours and the fact this means less time off.

Two weeks ago, the airline began striking cabin crew who refused to work these rosters off the payroll and has threatened to sack them. Up to 300 have been struck off the rosters. The airline initially refused to ask a mediator to intervene but accepted an invitation from union and employer representatives to talks late last week.

David Begg re-appointed to Aer Lingus board: Page 39

Irish Independent

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