Aer Lingus are going through some hard times. However the crisis is temporary.
Aer Lingus have so far netted €7.48m from the HSE for fetching PPE from China. They have been hailed national heroes. But are they?
Last week they denied their cabin crew (mostly women) the opportunity to ballot on a document that would have far-reaching consequences on their terms and conditions and a devastating impact on their pay. Pilots (mostly men) were granted that very facility.
Why? Now Aer Lingus has moved to axe 500 jobs and slash pay by 70%. The taxpayer has been paying the vast majority of Aer Lingus wages. Aer Lingus last year netted €276m profit, €305m in 2018 and has some cash reserves of €900m. The parent company IAG made €3bn in 2019.
Aer Lingus appears intent on tearing up the industrial relations practices developed over decades and contributed significantly to the company’s success.
This hero has lost its cape. Aer Lingus has clearly taken this action believing that the unions have no leverage and that industrial action would serve no purpose whilst their planes are grounded. However, if workers feel they have nothing to lose they will act. There is nothing quite like a woman scorned, never mind 1,000.
Aer Lingus could find its recovery plan in jeopardy as people will book their post lockdown holiday flights elsewhere. Who wants the uncertainty of possible industrial action over travel plans?
It is time Aer Lingus treated its staff equitably and looked to soar above dark clouds with all its staff on board.