Staff at three main airports face pay cuts of up to 12%

STAFF at the country’s three main airports are to suffer pay cuts of up to 12% as the Dublin Airport Authority tries to reduce its payroll costs by €38 million per year.

The cuts, agreed by Dublin Airport Authority (DAA) and staff unions in a lengthy process at the Labour Relations Commission, also involve 300 voluntary redundancies and changes in work practices.

“The agreement, which comes after several months of talks between the company and staff representatives, has been facilitated and endorsed by the LRC and is being recommended to staff by the company and by trade union representatives,” a company spokesman said. “DAA employees will vote on the cost-cutting agreement early in the new year.”

The DAA said it is facing financial difficulties due to the significant falls in passenger traffic and commercial income resulting from the economic downturn and has moved to address its cost base, as it was facing a €70m earnings shortfall.

Under the terms of the deal, about 300 staff employees will leave the company under a voluntary severance scheme. The non-renewal of certain contract positions means total employee numbers at the company are being reduced by about 450.

According to the company, the pay cuts will range from zero to 12% with an average of 5.5%. The company did not reveal at what levels the cuts would apply as that had not been communicated to staff.

“The agreement protects the position of lower paid employees, as those earning the annual equivalent of less than €30,000, will not see their salaries reduced,” the spokesman said. “There will also be a two-year pay freeze at the company. In recognition of the payroll cost savings made within the agreement, there is scope for the DAA to make a one-off payment to staff should the company’s profit levels reach specific targets. Pay levels could also be fully restored if certain agreed profit targets are met over a sustained period.” The company will begin the voluntary severance process once the agreement has been approved by staff.

“This is an innovative agreement that has been concluded after many months of intensive negotiations and against the background of a difficult national industrial relations environment,” said DAA chief executive Declan Collier. “It delivers the payroll savings that are required to address the current financial difficulties facing the DAA in an agreed and equitable manner.”

Meanwhile, a 12-day strike by British Airways cabin crew which threatened to ground hundreds of thousands of passengers over the busy Christmas period has been declared illegal in a high court ruling.

The British court agreed with BA that the cabin crew’s union, Unite, had not correctly balloted its members on the strike action. The injunction means that the 12-day strike cannot now go ahead.

Unite said the decision was a “disgraceful day for democracy”.


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