| 10°C Dublin

DAA insists emergency staff will not strike and close airport

THE operators of Dublin Airport have denied that a strike is likely after fire and police staff voted overwhelmingly for industrial action.

Reports yesterday suggested staff plan to down tools in early February, which would lead to the closure of Dublin Airport.

The dispute surrounds the allocation of holidays and the alleged shortage of emergency staff at the airport.

Workers claim a recruitment embargo and retirements have left the service seriously understaffed, leading to increased security concerns. Staff have also been unable to take their allocated annual leave.

Both sides have spent many weeks negotiating the issue and it is understood the Labour Relations Commission is keeping a close eye on proceedings.

However, the Dublin Airport Authority (DAA) insists industrial action is not on the cards at present and reports of such are "premature to say the least".

It insists there is a strict formal process for dealing with disputes which includes third-party channels such as the Labour Relations Commission.

"Reports of potential industrial action in the short-term are highly premature and misleading," a DAA spokesperson said yesterday.

"The staff in question are covered by a registered agreement, which states that before any industrial action can take place, all disputes must go through both the Labour Relations Commission and the Labour Court.

"The issue in question, which relates to the way in which annual leave is allocated, has not yet been referred to any third-party institution.

"The issue solely relates to when staff can take annual leave -- the vast majority of staff have received their first choice of leave allocation under the new system," he added.

SIPTU representatives were unavailable for comment last night.

Irish Independent