Saturday 24 February 2018

Glimmer of hope in talks over Aer Lingus roster dispute

Aer Lingus
Aer Lingus

Anne-Marie Walsh

There is a glimmer of hope on the horizon that a row that caused severe disruption for 28,000 Aer Lingus passengers may be resolved.

It is understood the airline has told Impact it is willing to introduce a fixed-pattern roster for cabin crew, but only if it doesn't cost anything.

Sources said it tabled proposals on how this might be achieved on the first day of talks yesterday to end the dispute over rosters.

However, the talks were on a knife-edge before being adjourned for the night.

One source even said they were "close to collapse" but the parties eventually agreed to return today.

Impact has threatened to escalate industrial action if there is no agreement on rosters, which cabin crew claim are erratic.

The cabin crew want a fixed-pattern roster similar to the five days on, three days off schedule enjoyed by pilots. The union has warned that if the next work stoppage goes ahead, it may last longer than 24 hours.

Last week's one-day strike is estimated to have cost the national carrier up to €10m.

There were angry exchanges during Leaders' Questions in the Dail yesterday when Independent TD Clare Daly highlighted the Aer Lingus row.

The Dublin North TD criticised Finance Minister Michael Noonan for saying the timing of the dispute was "disproportionate" coming on the Friday of a bank holiday weekend.

Mr Noonan said he considered the impact on 30,000 travellers who simply wanted to take a break that weekend was unnecessary.

An angry Ms Daly said Mr Noonan's comments were outrageous. She said that at Ryanair there is no trade union recognition. Mr Noonan in turn criticised Ms Daly, who is a former union official at Aer Lingus, for launching what he called a "a proxy attack" on Ryanair.

Irish Independent

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