Redundancy risk for aviation workers says SIPTU

Redundancy risk for aviation workers says SIPTU
Aer Lingus are seeking 500 redundancies while the DAA seek 750-1000. Picture: Brian Lawless 

Thousands of aviation industry workers in Ireland will be made redundant in the near future, according to a leading trade union.

SIPTU is to appear before the Oireachtas Covid Committee on Friday, and an opening statement from the union, seen by the Irish Examiner, says that although all sectors have been affected by the Covid19 pandemic, the impact on aviation has been among "the most severe", and that Ireland’s air traffic decline is among the worst in Europe.

Dublin Airport Authority is seeking between 750 to 1000 redundancies in Dublin and Cork airports and has offered workers a voluntary severance scheme.

Aer Lingus is seeking 500 redundancies in non-pilot grades.

Likewise, Shannon Airport has indicated it will be seeking a reduction in staff numbers through voluntary severance, part-time working and career breaks: "Management is also proposing an unacceptable 20% pay cut until 2023. Unless there is a significant and immediate upturn in international travel, which is extremely unlikely, there will be thousands of redundancies and a prolonged reduction in earnings for workers remaining in Aviation. This will have a lasting and acute impact on the wider Irish economy."

In May 2020:

• Dublin Airport recorded 2,319 flights — an 89.4% decrease on May 2019

• Cork Airport traffic saw 260 movements — down 95.3% on May 2019

• Shannon Airport reported 325 flights — down 86.9% on May 2019

Dublin Airport achieved a record high of 32.6 million passengers in 2019. It is estimated that Dublin Airport will have 8 million passengers this year and 21 million passengers in 2021.

The stark figures paint a bleak picture for the future of work across the sector, with many in the aviation industry on fixed-term contracts or in a probationary period have had already had their employment terminated. Other workers in the industry have suffered a loss in hours and income. In Dublin Airport, a "majority" of the 3,500 workers have suffered a 20% reduction in hours of work and pay.

Aer Lingus members have had hours and pay reduced to 30% in the operational areas, while other areas have suffered a reduction to 50% hours and wages. All Aer Lingus employees in Shannon Airport were put on temporary layoff from June 21.

SIPTU has recommended extending the Temporary Wage Subsidy Scheme (TWSS) for the aviation sector to summer 2021

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