THOUSANDS of airline passengers face the prospect of being left stranded next week after trade union SIPTU refused to withdraw a threat of industrial action.
The union plans to hold a two-hour work stoppage next Monday at Dublin Airport in an ongoing row about a pensions crisis at Aer Lingus.
The strike will affect anyone flying with Aer Lingus between 10am and noon. Other airlines are not affected.
It had been hoped that the strike would be called off after a five-point plan to resolve the row was proposed by employers’ group IBEC and the Irish Congress of Trade Unions.
However, SIPTU organiser Dermot O’Loughlin said that despite holding a “constructive” meeting with management, the union was not in a position to withdraw the notice of strike action.
The sticking point was a demand from Aer Lingus that any contributions to plug the €750m pension deficit in the Irish Airlines Superannuation Scheme – which covers workers in the airline and the Dublin Airport Authority – was offset by productivity from staff.
The demand would have to be taken off the table for the strike to be called off, he said, as Aer Lingus had €900m in cash and workers had already given enough.