Tuesday 11 December 2018

Missing Aer Lingus stock may have been damaged and not stolen, says Siptu

Aer Lingus stock picture
Aer Lingus stock picture

Anne-Marie Walsh

The country's biggest union has disputed claims that Aer Lingus staff stole millions of euro of goods from the airline, customers and colleagues.

Siptu said a recent memo from chief operating officer Mike Rutter that said millions had been lost due to missing stock did not mean staff had stolen it.

It is understood that police and federal law enforcement authorities in the US were called in to investigate a number of "serious issues" in recent months.

CCTV cameras are being installed in Terminal Two at Dublin Airport and a security company hired to monitor staff in break areas and carts used to store duty free goods.

A Siptu spokesperson said the letter said there was millions of euro in missing stock but this could have been due to damage to materials.

In a statement, the union condemned "blanket character assassination" of staff and called on management to provide evidence to show there was a basis to the claims.

It has sought a meeting with chief executive officer Stephen Kavanagh to discuss the issues raised in a media report at the weekend.

An Aer Lingus spokesperson said the level of theft was "above the industry norms" despite investment in new technologies and "management processes" over the past few months.

She said "some more serious issues" have 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.

She said the roll-out of CCTV cameras has begun at Terminal Two and staff representatives were consulted. CCTV is in line with industry norms, she said.

Most staff behave in an exemplary manner, and perform their roles impeccably, she said.

"However, we are understandably dismayed that there are those that do not behave in an exemplary manner.

"The unfortunate reality is that a tiny subset of our 4,500 colleagues behave in a manner that falls below the required standard. This is wholly unacceptable for those working in the airline, for management and for our valued guests."

She said workplace theft was not unique to Aer Lingus, but most other airlines have taken measures to counter such behaviour.

The airline has taken steps in recent weeks that are proportionate to the security required, she added.

Irish Independent

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