The strike by 12 members of Unite — firefighters and security workers at the regional airport — began at 7.15am yesterday and is in response to the cutting of their hours from 39 per week to 21.
The cut was made by the airport after the closure of the facility’s only commercial passenger service, between Waterford and London-Luton, by VLM Airlines last month, which resulted in a fall in revenue.
Unite regional organiser Tony Kelly said he had received “information” that management was considering employing other staff from another county while the industrial dispute was ongoing.
“We’ve sent a letter out to affiliated unions to join the picket here in relation to any attempt by management to bring in strikebreakers.”
However, the airport said it had sufficient staff in its remaining, non-Unite complement of 14 employees to maintain services which include facilities for air clubs, private airplanes, and the Coast Guard’s search and rescue helicopter.
“The airport is not recruiting or contracting anyone instead of the staff who are on strike,” a spokesperson said.
It is likely that the only long-term solution to the industrial relations difficulties is the establishment of a new service to the UK, following the successive withdrawals in recent years of Aer Lingus Regional, Flybe, and VLM, which would allow management to restore the working hours previously enjoyed by all staff.