Aer Lingus is laying off 55 cabin crew staff blaming planned cuts to its winter schedule, it emerged tonight.
The airline said the employees would be let go at the end of the month when their contracts are up.
Trade union Impact said the staff were angry at their treatment as they were informed via text message to expect a call from bosses.
Union official Christina Carney said: “I have been speaking to these workers today and they are devastated.”
Ms Carney said the employees had worked hard for the airline and many had mortgages and now faced an uncertain future.
The airline said the staff, based out of Dublin Airport on short-haul services, were contacted by bosses via text message yesterday.
They were told to expect a call from them explaining how talks with union chiefs had gone at the Labour Relations Commission.
They were then contacted by telephone last night and told their contracts were not being renewed.
Ms Carney said: “There is a lot of shock and anger at how they have been treated by the company, and the manner in which the news was broken to them has only added to the shock and anger they are feeling.”
The union has written to the new chief executive Christoph Mueller expressing disappointment.
Last month Aer Lingus reported losses of €93m for the first half of 2009 – almost four times the figure for the same period last year.
The airline plans to slash short haul services over the winter, with the number of aircraft based in Dublin cut from 24 to 22.
In Belfast, one plane is being taken out of action, with routes to Barcelona, Faro, Milan, Paris, and Rome and Faro all axed.
However, new services from Belfast to Tenerife and Dublin to Fuerteventura and Tunisia will come into effect in October.
In Cork there will be additional frequencies on Manchester, Birmingham, Tenerife and Lanzarote routes.