Wednesday 18 September 2019

Aer Lingus says it's sorry after claims of theft by workers

'The airline has agreed to make a donation of €25,000 to charity on behalf of staff after a meeting with its group of unions' (stock photo)
'The airline has agreed to make a donation of €25,000 to charity on behalf of staff after a meeting with its group of unions' (stock photo)

Anne-Marie Walsh

Aer Lingus has apologised to staff following claims they stole millions of euro worth of goods from the airline, customers and colleagues.

The airline has agreed to make a donation of €25,000 to charity on behalf of staff after a meeting with its group of unions.

Chief executive Stephen Kavanagh and his senior executive team issued an apology and expressed their regret for the hurt and upset caused.

The apology comes after a memo from chief operating officer Mike Rutter informed staff that random security patrols and CCTV monitoring were being rolled out.

He said a bigger investment in security was needed following the loss of "many millions of euro" every year due to stock losses.

The memo also said police and federal law enforcement authorities in the US were called in to investigate a number of "serious issues" in recent months.

Staff were told CCTV cameras are being installed in Terminal Two at Dublin Airport and a security company hired to monitor them in break areas, as well as carts used to store duty free goods.

"Guest property and company stock losses remain at levels significantly above the industry norms despite investment in new technologies and inventory management processes," he said.

Mr Rutter said a small percentage of employees were behaving in an unacceptable way.

In a statement, the airline said a meeting was called to discuss serious concerns arising from an article that appeared in the 'Sunday Independent' last week.

"The CEO acknowledged that Aer Lingus workers had been subject to hurtful and demeaning comments over the course of the last week and sincerely regretted the upset that had been caused," said the airline's statement.

It said Mr Kavanagh appreciated and respected the "continued professionalism of colleagues in the delivery of excellent service and their continued hard work and dedication".

"Aer Lingus further committed to working closely with colleagues and its representative trade unions in line with our policies, procedures and processes to address all issues of concern," it said.

"Aer Lingus at all levels throughout the organisation commits to encouraging the highest workplace standards through its policies, processes and communications.

"In the spirit of this statement, Aer Lingus will make a donation on behalf of staff of €25,000 split equally between their chosen charities, Pieta House and Focus Ireland."

During the week, an Aer Lingus spokesperson had stated the level of theft at the airline was "above the industry norms".

She said more serious issues called for the involvement of law enforcement agencies.

The airline believes a "tiny cohort" of staff are involved, but would not specify how many.

"However, we would not be pursuing the issue if the effect was small," she said.

Irish Independent

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