Aer Lingus Strike Begins

Aer Lingus cabin crew have begun a 24-hour strike today, 30 May, over a dispute about rosters for airline employees.

The crew, represented by union IMPACT, have expressed regret that a dispute about rosters has led to a "necessity for strike action".

IMPACT said that the airline's invitation to talks issued on Tuesday 27 May came "too late to prevent the action from going ahead."

IMPACT official Michael Landers said: "We extended that offer on many occasions previously, and stated it again in our strike notice on 13 May. The invitation came too late to prevent this action from going ahead, but we would hope that this would mark the beginning of a process that would see this issue resolved once and for all.

"There is a considerable lack of trust among cabin crew who question senior management's willingness to address this problem. Aer Lingus management has already breached existing agreements and refused to implement Labour Court recommendations. An invitation to talks, on its own, simply isn't enough to convince our cabin crew members."

A commencement date for talks is expected to be confirmed today.

Máire Ní Chleirigh, who has worked with the airline for 25 years, said: "We want to work with management in a constructive and positive way and develop rosters that meet both our needs and their needs. We would rather be doing our job than taking this action, but we can't go on any longer the way things are. We are happy to meet the company's productivity demands, and the long days that go with it. But we need our time off, our rest time, to be better planned in order to meet those demands. Stable roster patterns like the one we've proposed are already in use in other airlines," she said.

The stoppage today will affect Aer Lingus flights from Dublin, Cork and Shannon airports. Mr Landers said that the company had refused to consider a trial period for the union's proposed "5:3" rosters on European short haul services.

Declan Kearney, Director of Communications, Aer Lingus, said: "Our customers need certainty for their travel arrangements. Without this they are forced to either travel with another airline or simply cancel their travel plans altogether. It’s extremely damaging for customers and for the airline to live under this constant threat of strike. We are doing everything we can to minimise the impact on our customers, but we call on IMPACT to stop this unjustifiable practice of constantly threatening strike action as a part of their negotiating position. It is unfair to the airline, reputationally and commercially, and it is most unfair to the public who deserve to be able to catch their flights on the day and time of their choosing."

Aer Lingus also said allegations by IMPACT using extreme examples of 60-hour working weeks and 16-hour days are "extremely misleading and bear no resemblance to actual Aer Lingus rosters."

It said a detailed analysis of Aer Lingus rosters over the last 12 months shows that the average working week for cabin crew was 30 hours, and that the incidence of staff working greater than 50 hours in a seven day period was less than 0.5%.


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