Business Irish

Friday 24 January 2020

Union warns Aer Lingus over U-turn in dispute process

Photo: Bloomberg
Photo: Bloomberg
John Mulligan

John Mulligan

Aer Lingus has been warned by trade union Fórsa not to terminate its involvement in a company dispute resolution mechanism that was introduced in 2016.

The Internal Dispute Resolution Board is used when the airline and the trade union have reached an impasse in negotiations, and all other direct negotiations between the sides are exhausted.

An emergency motion was put to Fórsa's Services & Enterprises Divisional conference in Galway yesterday, calling on the union to take action to ensure that Aer Lingus "complies with a union-management agreement covering staff consultation".

Fórsa divisional chair and Aer Lingus worker Gillian White insisted the resolution board "was working".

"It's inevitable that, if this unnecessary and ill-advised act is not reversed, it will be more difficult to conduct productive industrial relations, and deal constructively with the conflicts that inevitably arise in this highly competitive sector," she said.

But Aer Lingus dismissed those concerns, pointing out that the model of an internal resolution board, while prevalent in the state or semi-state sector, is not prevalent in the private sector.

"In that context, Aer Lingus is determined to develop a mature professional relationship with our union partners," it added.

"We want to be capable of resolving matters through direct dialogue with local management in the first instance. The multi-layered model of an Internal Disputes Resolution Board was increasingly being bypassed in favour of the Workplace Relations Commission.

"It is now widely acknowledged that the latter represents the best vehicle to effectively and independently address disputes which cannot be resolved directly by the parties.

"Aer Lingus remains committed to best-in-class industrial relations practices."

Irish Independent

Also in Business