Wednesday 13 December 2017

Aer Lingus says dispute with crew won't affect flights

Anne-Marie Walsh Industry Correspondent

AER Lingus has assured passengers there will be no disruption to flights if cabin crew vote for industrial action.

It said it has "the means to deal with every outcome", should staff decide to start a work-to-rule from August 16.

An all-out strike -- over an increase in working hours -- from that date is very unlikely.

Cabin crew representative, Impact's Christina Carney, yesterday said an all-out strike was "absolutely not" on the agenda.

The union is balloting members to begin a work-to-rule from the middle of next month.

They will only down tools if management takes action against individual members.

If this happens, it is understood that the airline has contingency plans in place to ensure flights are not affected.

It is also understood that the airline's previous threat to impose compulsory redundancies on staff, if they reject its €97m cost-cutting plan -- including plans to increase cabin crew hours -- still remains.

It said there would be no disruption to its customers' travel plans and the ballot was "deeply regrettable", four months after agreement was reached with staff, following five months of talks and two ballots.

The cabin crew accepted the cost-cutting programme, known as the Greenfield Plan, by a 'Yes' vote of 93pc, following the airline's threat of compulsory redundancies.

The deal means their average flying hours increase to 850 a year, while voluntary redundancies and pay cuts are also part of the agreement.

However, it accused the airline of reneging on an earlier agreement to increase their hours to 39 a week. It said it accepted this, but claimed management imposed rosters that meant staff had to work 60 hours over seven days and 10-hour shifts with no meal break.

Meanwhile, Ryanair offered to "rescue" passengers if, what they called, the Impact "headbangers" went on strike.

Irish Independent

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