Wednesday 22 November 2017

Labour TDs to demand 'certainty' on jobs at airline

Labour backbencher Joe Costello
Labour backbencher Joe Costello
Niall O'Connor

Niall O'Connor

Eight Labour Party TDs will today formally demand that a series of "strict conditions" be met before the party will consider supporting the Aer Lingus deal.

The internal faction of mostly Dublin TDs is seeking a legally-binding guarantee from airline giant IAG on the issue of employment.

The so-called Registered Employment Agreement (REA) would be tied in with the Labour Court and provide "certainty" to the future of jobs.

Following days of discussion, the eight Labour TDs will demand that the bid for the State's 25.1pc stake be rejected unless "reliable" guarantees are secured.

The motion will welcome the Government's decision to reject the IAG bid, which will be described as "not good enough" by the junior Coalition partner.

IAG has offered a five-year guarantee surrounding the Heathrow slots and has also made a series of promises in the areas of job creation, air routes and passenger numbers.

But the demands being made by the Labour deputies may be snubbed by IAG chief executive Willie Walsh, senior Government sources said last night.

The motion will state that Labour's support will hinge on securing a series of guarantees surrounding employment, the Heathrow slots and the development of Cork and Shannon airports. The wording of the motion is not being published until it is given the go-ahead by the party's standing order committee.

The TDs, who met on a number of occasions this week ahead of the tabling of the motion, are: Joe Costello, Brendan Ryan, Michael McNamara, Dominic Hannigan, Robert Dowds, Eamonn Maloney, John Lyons and Sean Kenny.

Mr Kenny last night said the motion is not a "complete rejection" of IAG's offer, but that it will "set out clear conditions that we believe must be met before the deal could be supported". But a number of Fine Gael sources last night insisted the Labour motion could have "little effect" on the Government's final decision over the matter.

"From Fine Gael's perspective, if IAG come back with an improved deal, that will have to be considered very seriously," said one party source.

Another source said the Government would be "completely mad" not to sell the stake to the airline giant.

The motion by the group of eight also includes calling for an independent valuation of the company and the Heathrow slots.

Mr Walsh is understood to be considering the Government's rejection of the latest IAG bid and is expected to contact Transport Minister Paschal Donohoe in the coming days.

John Drennan's Guide to Politics - Spring 2015

The next election will change your life. In a special supplement with the Sunday Independent, John Drennan presents his guide to Irish politics.

Irish Independent

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