'Reinstate Aer Lingus Staff' – TD O'Brien

Fianna Fail TD Darragh O'Brien has today called for Aer Lingus to reinstate the staff removed from the company's payroll.

Taking the side of staff today, Mr O’Brien said Aer Lingus management should cease the "extremely damaging course of action" being pursued, adding that the airline was treating staff "very badly" and "severely damaging the airline’s reputation".

Speaking this morning, the North Dublin TD said: “It is my clear belief that staff have been shown to be completely flexible over last number of years but last year in particular. The sacrifices and concessions that they have made have contributed greatly to turning around the fortunes of the airline.”

“I am calling on management to cease the suspension of staff immediately and to reinstate all staff members who have been taken off the payroll.”

Aer Lingus today announced it would cancel 14 flights today as it continues to battle with cabin crew over their refusal to take on new rosters. The airline said it anticipates further cancellations affecting up to 10% of its schedule over the coming days.

However, Mr O'Brien said he believed the changes in work practices management were seeking were outside the terms of the Greenfield plan agreed by staff and management just last year.

“I am also extremely concerned by the course of action the company has taken in hiring in aircraft to operate flight. This has the potential to further damage its financial position and put jobs at risk,” he added.

The airline has cancelled flights to and from London Heathrow, Malaga, Madrid, Amsterdam, Manchester, Frankfurt and Birmingham, and there is little sign of any breakthrough in the dispute, which is now into its second week.

Last night, the trade union representing staff, Impact, said Aer Lingus management was entirely to blame for the flight cancellations.

Union spokesperson Bernard Harbor said: “The company has put over 170 cabin crew off duty even though they have reported for duty and are willing to work. It has its own expensive planes on the tarmac while it spends €400,000 a day hiring external aircraft and crews."


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