Wednesday 22 November 2017

Pilots discuss job and pay-cut proposals

John Mulligan

John Mulligan

A majority of Aer Lingus pilots are expected to meet tomorrow to discuss the details of €30m in annual cost-savings proposed by the Labour Relations Commission (LRC) in an attempt to broker a deal between flight crew and the airline's management.

Following lengthy negotiations and arbitration, the LRC has proposed that Aer Lingus pilots take a 10pc pay cut and that 50 of the highest paid captains leave the airline.

The proposals are part of the wider rationalisation plans at Aer Lingus, which wants to cut €97m from its annual non-fuel operating costs and layoff almost 700 people.

While some meetings are thought to have taken place yesterday and may continue today, it's understood that the majority of pilots represented by the Irish Airline Pilots' Association (IALPA) will be addressed tomorrow on the plans proposed by LRC chief executive Kieran Mulvey.

It is likely that some details of the plan will have to be teased out by pilots and their representatives. Any vote on the scheme will not take place for a couple of weeks.

It is not clear at this stage whether the decisions of the LRC arbitration tribunal will have to be accepted by both pilots and Aer Lingus management in their entirety, or not at all.

Crucial

It's also highly unlikely that any decision by pilots will be known before a crucial investment day Aer Lingus will hold for analysts at the end of this month.

Apart from recommending pay cuts and increased performance targets for pilots, the arbitration tribunal also attempted to address a serious shortfall of the pilot pension scheme.

Pilots have already agreed that they would boost their pension payments and limit the level of benefits they would be entitled to from the scheme.

The LRC arbitration panel has also expressed hope that ensuring the future viability of the scheme would remove the threat of "constructive obligation" claims being made by IALPA against the company.

The arbitration panel has also recommended the establishment of a €30m incentive scheme that could be used to pay bonuses to Aer Lingus staff once the company returns to profitability.

Meanwhile, UK-based airline BMI is to cease basing an aircraft at Dublin airport in a move that is likely to result in the loss of 33 jobs, it said yesterday.

Owned by Germany's Lufthansa, BMI said it will reduce the number of flights between Dublin and London Heathrow to a maximum of four per day from this summer.

It currently has an aircraft based at both Dublin and Heathrow to service the route, and operates a maximum of six flights a day between the capitals.

Irish Independent

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