Labour Court rejects controllers' claims over new technology

Industrial relations chiefs have backed aviation bosses in a row with air traffic controllers over new working arrangements, it was revealed tonight.

The dispute, which centred on new systems, crippled the country’s three main airports last Wednesday leaving 20,000 passengers stranded.

The Labour Court said the Irish Aviation Authority (IAA) was within its rights to bring in new technology to meet customers’ needs and prioritise safety.

Controllers, who are members of the Impact trade union, went on strike after 14 employees were suspended for refusing to take part in the four projects.

Both sides declined to comment other than to welcome the ruling.

The Labour Court ruling said the row centred on new technology to improve efficiency.

“The changes associated with the disputed projects does not go beyond the parameters of what can properly be classified as normal on-going change,” it said.

The court also said it was clear none of the changes will detrimentally affect working conditions, increase the IAA’s cost savings or increase revenue.

A second recommendation on the IAA’s claim that it is unable to pay a 6% pay increase due under the last national wage agreement is expected later this week.

More than 150 flights in and out of the country were delayed or cancelled last Wednesday during the four-hour stoppage.

Dublin, Cork and Shannon Airports shut down causing travel misery for thousands of passengers.

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