Aer Lingus passengers face significant disruption to travel plans in the run-up to Christmas after the airline’s cabin crew overwhelming backed industrial action over a catalogue of grievances.
More than 90% of the cabin crew, members of the Impact trade union, voted in favour of action up to strike over issues including:
* The company’s decision to “outsource” cabin crew functions on transatlantic services to an agency, ACL;
* The knock-on decision to close its Shannon cabin crew base affecting 87 staff;
* “Excessive shifts” caused by management’s rosters;
* Management’s refusal to engage with staff on a range of issues through the usual industrial relations channels.
Sources say strikes could be triggered very quickly if management does not address the concerns. Last week, it was speculated that the Labour Relations Commission would intervene in the dispute. However, as of last night, an Impact spokesman said the union had not received any invitation from the third party.
The threat to 87 jobs in Shannon has been the most publicised issue in recent weeks. The workers face either relocation to Dublin or Cork, voluntary severance, unpaid leave for those who secure work with ACL, or redundancy after the airline said it was closing the base and using agency cabin crew on its transatlantic schedule.
That move came after Aer Lingus and Impact failed to reach agreement on the staffing of the Boeing 757s which will operate the increased-frequency service and decided it would use agency cabin crew.
However, the move to shut the base was taken after the union decided to ballot staff on the other issues.
One source said the cabin crew had endured an intensely busy summer season, during which they were understaffed because management was unwilling to increase staffing levels.
“Morale is at an all-time low and they are tired of management issuing diktats and threats,” the source said.
An Aer Lingus spokes-woman said the airline had not received notice of industrial action and had no further comment to make.
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