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Strikes could hit airports during St Patrick's week

Thousands of passengers could be grounded over the busy St Patrick's period after Ireland's biggest union voted in favour of industrial action at Dublin and Cork airports.

More than 1,000 members of the Siptu trade union representing workers at the Dublin Airport Authority (DAA) yesterday voted overwhelmingly in favour of industrial action – including a strike – at Dublin and Cork over a long-simmering dispute on pensions.

If it proceeds, the strike could shut down both airports during one of the busiest tourism weeks of the year in the lead-up to St Patrick's Day.

The strike could also impact thousands of international rugby fans attending Ireland's Six Nations clash with Italy at the Aviva Stadium on March 8 as well as Irish fans flying to Paris on March 15 for Ireland's match against France.

And it could affect thousands of horse racing fanatics flying out to the Cheltenham Festival between March 11 and 14 and could even drag on until Easter in late April, Siptu warned.

Another ballot will be held this morning for approximately 1,500 workers at Aer Lingus over a deficit in the DAA's pension scheme known as the Irish Airlines Superannuation Scheme (IASS).


Siptu's pension policy adviser Dermot O'Loughlin said 89pc of DAA workers voted in favour of a full-blown strike, with 94pc in favour of industrial action if the pensions dispute is not resolved.

"This demonstrates that staff at the airports are angry, disillusioned and frustrated that an acceptable resolution has not yet been found to the continuing pensions crisis," he said.

He believes the Aer Lingus workers, including check-in and boarding staff, baggage handlers and cabin crew, will also vote for industrial action.