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Relief for air passengers

THE resolution of the Aer Lingus dispute will be welcomed by the thousands of passengers whose flights have been disrupted over the last fortnight. The trade union IMPACT has signalled that the current industrial action has been suspended and staff taken off the payroll will resume normal duties.

All is not sweetness and light just yet, as a binding arbitration has to be followed through at the Labour Relations Commission, but it can be presumed that both sides have been briefed on what to expect.

It reflects well on both unions and management that patience and common sense prevailed through what turned out to be marathon discussions. Management was adamant that its so called "Greenfield" series of cost-saving measures be pushed through.

There were difficult issues raised. Running an airline in a cut-throat industry at the height of a global recession leaves little room for compromise.

Unions had grounds for arguing that the controversial roster changes could make it extremely difficult to plan childcare.

International competition and all that that entails can impose demands which take a heavy toll on family life.

Working conditions that obtained through the years were always going to be severely tested by competition.

The fact that sufficient common ground could be found for agreement despite all the differences represents a welcome boost for the beleaguered aviation sector.

With jobs so scarce and trading so difficult, settlement of the row sends out a positive signal. A protracted dispute was not in anyone's interests.

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