Thu. Jul 25th, 2024


Image caption, The scene at Dublin Airport early on Wednesday morning

  • Author, Davy Wilson
  • Role, BBC News NI

Aer Lingus pilots have begun industrial action in an ongoing dispute with the airline over pay.

Members of the Irish Air Line Pilot’s Association (IALPA) began an indefinite work-to-rule at midnight on Wednesday.

An eight-hour strike is planned for Saturday.

Hundreds of flights cancelled

The airline said it is disappointed the Labour Court did not intervene in the dispute but will instead review the matter in July.

“Aer Lingus will continue to focus on minimising the disruption caused to customers by IALPA’s industrial action,” it said in a statement to Irish broadcaster RTÉ.

The airline said it “has made it clear that it remains available for discussions both directly and through the state’s industrial relations framework”.

The total number of flights cancelled as a result of the industrial action, Aer Lingus said, has now risen to 270.

All Aer Lingus regional flights, operated by Emerald Airlines, and Aer Lingus UK transatlantic flights to and from Manchester will operate as scheduled.

It called on IALPA to “consider the damage that its continued industrial action is inflicting upon passengers, the company and the Irish economy”.

A full list of cancelled flights up to and including 2 July can be found on the airline’s website.

It said: “The nature of this industrial action may lead to further cancellations and delays and we will communicate directly with impacted customers as soon as possible.”

Speaking to BBC News NI, IALPA president Capt Mark Tighe said the work was now in place because Aer Lingus management “have refused to see the reasonableness of our accumulative inflationary pay claim”.

IALPA are seeking a 24% pay rise.

Capt Tighe said an “acceptable offer” would see the industrial action end.

He added: “The company have refused point blank to see their wisdom and sense in keeping their staff‘s salaries in line with inflation.

“We’re not looking to increase our pay, we are looking to preserve our income,” he added.

“It is not unreasonable for staff to want their salary protected”.

He said the work to rule includes “some added industrial elements”.

“Basically pilots who have always been very flexible in making sure that airplanes got home in delay situations, and coming in on days off – some pilots did, most don’t because of work life balance – but with that withdrawn, the flexibility is gone”.

Image caption, Simon Harris has called for intensive engagement between both sides to bring an end to the dispute

Capt Tighe said people should be aware that it is only a small number of pilots that give up their days off to work.

“For the company to turn around to say they’re cancelling up to 20% of their flights because of this means they are so short of pilots, they have a problem they’re not willing to address,” he said.

On Tuesday, senior political figures in the Republic of Ireland called for a resolution to be found.

Taoiseach (Irish prime minister) Simon Harris had called on Aer Lingus and IALPA to “engage intensively” at the Labour Court to avoid “utter chaos” for air passengers.

He urged both sides to “dig deep”, calling for “compromise, engagement and sitting around a table”.

Tánaiste (Irish deputy prime minister) Micheál Martin meanwhile said there was “an urgent necessity” to find a resolution.

The public, he added, were being ignored by both sides in the dispute.

“It’s shocking that they’re being ignored, and wilfully, if you like, put to one side in this battle between the management of Aer Lingus and unions,” Mr Martin said.

What do I do if my Aer Lingus flight is cancelled?

The airline has said passengers with flights booked between 26 June and 2 July have a number of options available.

Each should be contacted via email or SMS, or through their travel agent.

For customers who have booked directly with Aer Lingus, there is the option to change flights online.

The company said it will waive the fare difference and any change fee if rebooking for a later date.

There is also the option to request a full refund or a refund voucher, which can be redeemed within five years.

Aer Lingus said passengers who booked through a travel agent or third party must contact those companies directly.

“Unfortunately, Aer Lingus is unable to assist directly in these cases,” Aer Lingus outlines on its website.




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#Aer #Lingus #Pilots #industrial #action #pay #dispute

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