Airport faces closure in strike threat on pensions

STRIKE action could force Dublin Airport to close at its busiest time of the year causing travel chaos for thousands of holidaymakers.

Staff at the Dublin Airport Authority (DAA), including security services and ambulance services are to walk away from their posts for several hours in protest at the lack of improvement in their pension entitlements.

SIPTU, which represents 1,200 staff at the airport, announced details of the action which will begin on July 2. The pension scheme at the DAA is part of the Irish Aviation Superannuation Scheme, which also includes employees of Aer Lingus and the SR Technics airline maintenance firm.

Changes in staffing numbers in the constituent companies has meant that two contributing DAA employees are having to contribute to benefit one benefactor member. The union said it has been calling for that anomaly to be addressed for three years. Relations between the two sides soured in March when the company produced a document listing 27 changes it wanted to implement as part of a settlement.

The union said among those changes is an outsourcing of functions carried out by SIPTU members in the DAA. The Labour Relations Commission (LRC) has agreed to mediate and both sides will meet on June 27.In advance of that however, SIPTU yesterday agreed a schedule of industrial action activities in the event the DAA failed to provide “reasonable improvements” to the pensions of all DAA employees on or before June 30.

The staff will hold two compulsory meetings from 5am to 7am and from 2pm to 4pm on July 2. It is likely the airport will have to close for those hours as there would be no security services in operation. Then, from July 6 to July 12, there will be further industrial action, such as work-to-rule and overtime bans. A DAA spokesman said SIPTU’s threat to disrupt operations was completely unwarranted and represented a deliberate and unreasonable attempt to cause upset and concern to intending passengers.

“The DAA is committed to a positive and speedy solution to the pension issues raised by its employees. The company has repeatedly stated that it is prepared to invest up to €30m to secure an appropriate and equitable solution to those issues and recently invited the LRC to help facilitate an agreed solution,” it said. Discussions are scheduled to take place under the auspices of the LRC on June 27. “In this context, this evening’s threat by SIPTU... to disrupt operations and thousands of passengers at Dublin Airport, within three working days of the commencement of the LRC discussions is both provocative and unnecessary,” said the DAA.


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