No winter strike fears at Aer Lingus, says Mueller
Customers have been told they should have no fears about strike action at Aer Lingus in the run-up to Christmas, even as unions ballot for industrial action.
Passengers have no reason to worry that that there could be industrial action at the airline, according to chief executive Christoph Mueller.
His reassurances came as the airline's cabin crew today complete a ballot initiated by trade union Impact that calls for action related to issues at Shannon Airport.
Mr Mueller claimed that the ballot was "absolutely unnecessary" because the resolution process had not been exhausted.
Asked if passengers should be concerned about their bookings in the run-up to Christmas, Mr Mueller insisted they shouldn't.
"I cannot see any conflict at this point in time which would justify a strike or which would end in a positive ballot," he said.
Aer Lingus announced during the summer that it intended to hire more cabin crew to staff new services it would be running out of Shannon next year, as well as an inaugural Dublin-Toronto service that commences in 2014.
Aer Lingus is leasing three Boeing 757 aircraft from Air Contractors, a unit of Dublin-based firm ASL Aviation, to launch the new services. The airline intended to use its own cabin crew on the aircraft.
Aer Lingus pilots have agreed to operate the aircraft. But the airline wanted to operate the aircraft with four cabin crew and claimed unions wanted five, even though the 757s are relatively small.
Impact denied that was the case and said management had attempted to "bully its own staff into submission with an ultimatum".
Last week, Aer Lingus said it was closing its Shannon cabin crew base with effect from next March in a move that affects nearly 90 staff. While they may be offered redeployment to Dublin or Cork, redundancies may also be necessary.
Aer Lingus can suffer immediately from the threat of strike action because virtually all its bookings are made over the internet.
The threats may prompt customers to reassess travel plans and options.