Aer Lingus passengers could face travel chaos later this month after Siptu today served two weeks strike notice on the airline over its cost-cutting plans.
Hundreds of staff at the carrier’s Dublin, Cork and Shannon bases voted 80% in favour of industrial action on Friday if management press ahead with controversial plans to cut and outsource some 1,300 jobs.
Travellers flying from November 24 could be the first hit if the bitter row escalates.
In a letter to chief executive Dermot Mannion, Siptu’s national industrial secretary Gerry McCormack warned strike action was becoming unavoidable.
Mr McCormack wrote: “We have made every attempt so far to resolve this dispute procedurally, however, the company withdrew from the talks process chaired by Mr Kevin Foley of the Labour Relations Commission.
“It is our firm view that the actions of the company have brought about a completely avoidable situation.
“Our members are equally firmly of the view that as a result of the company now proceeding to implement its outsourcing/change proposals the industrial action/strike action will become unavoidable with all the consequent disruption and loss to the employees, customers and airline.”
Aer Lingus wants to implement a €74m cost-cutting package, which includes taking €50m from staffing costs.
Measures proposed include outsourcing ground operations, shutting cabin crew bases in Shannon and Heathrow and using American crews on some transatlantic routes.
Talks at the Labour Relations Commission collapsed in recent weeks, with each side blaming the other.
Mr McCormack said if strike action goes ahead it would mean workers would picket company locations, with the nature, timing and duration of work stoppages determined by the union.
Last week Aer Lingus revealed it had set December 15 as the deadline for acceptance of a severance package and early retirement scheme on offer to staff.
In a webcam message to employees, Mr Mannion also said the cost-cutting plans were unstoppable and irreversible as the company’s financial position had deteriorated significantly over recent months.
Siptu urged the company to enter talks through the National Implementation Body (NIB) on possible alternatives to the savings plan.