Aer Lingus has cut wages by 70% which is the highest wage cut ever seen in Ireland in the 21st century. On top of the wage cut Aer Lingus has imposed changes to work practices and terms and conditions, this includes lay-offs as well as a ban on industrial action including strikes to February 2022.
Aer Lingus has netted €7.48m so far from the HSE for cargo flights to China for PPE equipment. Aer Lingus recorded profits in 2019 of €276m, €305m in 2018 and reserves of €900 million. IAG, Aer Lingus's parent company also made profits of €3bn in 2019, none of which were shared amongst the staff. During this pandemic, the state is paying the majority of the airline's wage bill under the Temporary Wage Subsidy Scheme.
Finance Minister Paschal Donohoe has said that the Government does not intend to clawback TWSS supports from companies who engage in staff layoffs! Surely this goes against the spirit and rationale of the scheme?
Aer Lingus is using the opportunity of Covid 19 to restructure its operations, yet cabin crew and ground staff have exposed themselves and their families to the risk of contracting Covid 19 in the effort to repatriate thousands of citizens. It would appear that the company are willing to impoverish its staff in favour of profits and rip off the Irish taxpayer in the process! Aer Lingus sponsors the Irish rugby team but this behaviour is not exactly donning the green jersey!
This will be the new FF-FG-Green Party Government’s first test as legislation will need to be introduced to change the TWSS and protect workers and the taxpayer from such morally bankrupt behaviour from affluent companies such as Aer Lingus.