Monday 18 December 2017

Noonan appeals to both sides in Aer Lingus row as he warns of massive disruption

Strike chaos looms
Strike chaos looms

Niall O'Connor and Anne-Marie Walsh

Finance Minister Michael Noonan has warned that plans by families to travel abroad this weekend will be "totally demolished" if Aer Lingus cabin crew proceed with strike action.

Mr Noonan urged both sides of the dispute to come together and added that any strike action will place a "very big imposition" on those seeking to travel over the bank holiday weekend.

Speaking during Leaders' Questions, Mr Noonan said that many families are looking forward to seeing their children who have emigrated to find work.

He called on trade union representatives and Aer Lingus officials to come together and use the "mediation machinery of the State".

"I thnk it's unfair and a lesser initiative should be taken. But I would appeal to all sides to come together and use the mediation machinery of the State and see if it can be resolved."

"An awful lot of other workers who are looking forward to a break this weekend are having their plans totally demolished by the action. I'm appealing to both sides, I'm sure there are faults on both sides."

Aer Lingus has stopped taking bookings because of the planned strike action, and would normally expect to carry around 40,000 passengers on the Friday of the June bank holiday weekend.

Cabin crew want the same 'five days on and three days off' roster as pilots but the airline claims this is "unworkable". It says that, unlike cockpit crew who work either on short- or long-haul routes, cabin crew work both.

As a result, it said it would have to apply a dual set of "completely inefficient" roster rules.

It claimed the cabin crew would get another 32 paid days off if it gave in to their demands, which would push up the price of flights and put jobs at risk.

IMPACT said the cabin crew would work the same hours but time off would be taken in a bigger block.

Independent TD Clare Daly called on the Government to use its shareholding in Aer Lingus to satisfy the demands of workers and implement the Labour Court recommendation on the issue of rosters.

“Your Government holds that shareholding. Combined with the staff, you have an influence greater than anyone else," she said.

"Is your answer to this and everything else now going to be shrug your shoulders and let somebody deal with it? Or are you going to use your influence to call management to account, allow these workers work in a decent job that allows them to rear their families."

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