Around 200 flights hit by Aer Lingus strike
Around 200 flights have been disrupted by an Aer Lingus cabin crew strike at the start of the bank holiday weekend.
Workers are staging pickets at the country’s three main airports – Dublin, Cork and Shannon – in an action that has grounded most of the carrier’s fleet and could cost up to €10m.
Bosses and cabin crew are locked in a dispute over working hours, with trade union Impact complaining that its members are being left exhausted by the rostering arrangements.
Pilots at Aer Lingus have backed the cabin crew and informed the airline they would not co-operate with alternative plans to carry passengers.
Normally, the carrier would take 40,000 travellers on the Friday of the June bank holiday weekend.
With strike action notice publicised two weeks ago, many customers did not book with Aer Lingus and of the 28,000 who had tickets, around half of them cancelled and half were booked on to earlier or later flights.
Aer Lingus has denounced the industrial action as unwarranted and unnecessary and accused cabin crew of driving customers into the arms of its competitors.
“We need to develop another way of doing business that doesn’t involve invoking strike action and mass disruption to customers,” said an Aer Lingus spokesman.
“Aer Lingus is doing everything possible to minimise the effects of this disruption and we apologise to our customers for the uncertainty they have had to endure.
“Aer Lingus cabin crew enjoy some of the most favourable working conditions in Ireland."
But several hundred striking workers marched today on the airline’s headquarters at Dublin airport to deliver a letter of protest to the chief executive Christoph Mueller who was booed by the rally.
“For three years we have raised concerns about the erratic nature of our rosters,” the letter states.
“We have become accustomed to the chaotic work patterns that are a direct product of those rosters, to the point where we understand the detrimental effect they are having on cabin crew, and the corrosive effect that they are having on the airline too.”
Some cabin crew said the rosters were taking a toll on their family lives and that the action was a last resort.
The 24-hour stoppage which started this morning has hit the travel plans of around 30,000 people.
Aer Lingus has brought in outside crew and planes in an attempt to minimise the disruption.
Management and union leaders are expected to meet on Wednesday to try to break the deadlock.