Tuesday 20 March 2018

Bank holiday chaos looms at airports

Mark O'Regan

Mark O'Regan

TRAVELLERS face the pros-pect of October bank holiday chaos after the failure of talks aimed at resolving a pensions deficit row between SIPTU, Aer Lingus and the Dublin Airport Authority.

Industrial action in Dublin and Shannon airports looks likely to be sanctioned when union officials meet next week.

The action had been postponed to allow the unsuccessful talks at the Labour Relations Commission.

The union's members had originally planned to strike on October 1 over the €748m deficit in their joint pension scheme, but that was deferred to allow the talks to proceed.

However, SIPTU organiser Dermot O'Loughlin told the Irish Independent last night: "The reactivation of industrial action is very, very likely in the coming weeks.

"While the Dublin Airport Authority appears to have raised meaningful initiatives, Aer Lingus has not.

"We asked the company last night to come and speak to us, but that request was refused.

"Before that had actually happened, the Labour Relations Commission had made it categorically clear that they felt there was no more they could do in relation to this process. They told us it was 'unbridgeable'."

Mr O'Loughlin said representatives at the airline "refused to meet directly with unions representing the staff pension committees".

He described workers at the two companies as "angry and disillusioned with the discourteous behaviour which the Aer Lingus management team has displayed".

Aer Lingus had threatened to sue SIPTU and its officers, officials and members for at least €2m a day in potential losses if they follow through on the industrial action threat.

A union official said industrial action at Aer Lingus and the country's airports could last for "up to seven days, if not two weeks".

Aer Lingus described claims that it had refused to meet union representatives as "entirely incorrect".

Irish Independent

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