Unions still to be swayed by IAG bid for Aer Lingus

Unions representing workers at Aer Lingus are due to brief their shop stewards at the airline today and tomorrow to further clarify their stance on the proposed takeover of the airline by aviation group IAG.

Unions still to be swayed by IAG bid for Aer Lingus

An ICTU-led delegation, which included representatives from Impact and Siptu, met yesterday with IAG to talk about the latter’s proposed €1.36bn takeover of the airline. Unions are set to meet Aer Lingus management at the end of this week. A spokesperson for IAG said they had no further comment to make in the aftermath of yesterday’s meeting.

None of the unions were updating their stances ahead of meeting their own representatives at Aer Lingus.

While Siptu said prior to the IAG meeting that it was undecided on IAG’s assurances regarding Aer Lingus’ future should a buyout succeed, Impact — the largest union representative at Aer Lingus, with 1,750 members covering pilots, cabin crew and administrative staff — suggested it was still of the opinion that a takeover was bad for Aer Lingus and bad for Ireland in terms of job security and connectivity issues.

Yesterday’s meeting followed weekend comments by Myles Worth, secretary of Aer Lingus’ Central Representative Council — a group of union representatives within the airline — claiming that the unions and staff were now broadly in favour of a deal being done.

However, a spokesperson for Impact suggested yesterday nothing has changed in terms of the union stance. In a letter to Aer Lingus chief executive designate Stephen Kavanagh, dated Sunday, the trade union distanced itself from Mr Worth’s comments.

“The points made, particularly those that purport to reflect that the majority of staff in the company and their trade unions were in favour of the proposed IAG takeover of Aer Lingus, were not authorised by us and are, in fact, far from the case,” the letter stated.

“Impact still asserts that this takeover is bad for Aer Lingus staff, threatens their jobs and the connectivity assurances, stated publically, are bad for Ireland,” it added.

The Central Representative Council is also set to meet Aer Lingus’s management later this week. Chairperson Evan Cullen has also said Mr Worth’s comments were personal views and not the council’s position. Earlier this month, Aer Lingus said its sale to IAG would be in the best interests of the company, its shareholders and Ireland. It publishes annual results this morning.

Meanwhile, at its annual conference in Co Cavan, the Irish Hotels Federation said enough assurances haven’t been given by IAG.

According to CEO Tim Fenn: “There is a potential conflict of interest here at some point in the future when Willie Walsh mightn’t be there, or the current owners mightn’t be there, that might see the slots better used on other routes.

“That’s why we sought for cast-iron guarantees on connectivity of the slots and we went further for contractual rights and there was some mention that you can’t have contractual rights. We have five-year guarantees so after five years what are you going to do? We’re saying that there should be cast-iron guarantees; five years isn’t cast-iron,” he said.

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