Minister urges Aer Lingus and union to ‘get around the table’ and avoid strikes

Minister Urges Aer Lingus And Union To ‘Get Around The Table’ And Avoid Strikes
Minister for Finance Michael McGrath has urged Aer Lingus management and unions to “get down around the table” for talks to avoid strikes.
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By George Lithgow, PA

Minister for Finance Michael McGrath has urged Aer Lingus management and unions to “get down around the table” for talks to avoid strikes.

He said discussions should take place as soon as possible to avoid travel chaos over the summer holiday season.


Aer Lingus pilots voted overwhelmingly for industrial action in a dispute over pay, it was announced on Monday.

Members of the Irish Airline Pilots’ Association (IALPA), which represents hundreds of pilots at the airline, voted 99 per cent in favour.



The airline has described the pilots’ pay demands as unrealistic.

Speaking as he arrived for a cabinet meeting in Dublin, Mr McGrath said: “I would call on both Aer Lingus management and the union to get down around the table as quickly as possible and to have meaningful discussions to avoid industrial action.

“We’re coming into a very important season now, where for many individuals and families this is the one opportunity in the year that they may have to get away.


“The earlier the discussions take place, and a settlement can be agreed between the airline and the pilots’ representatives, the better.

“The last thing that anybody wants to see is passengers being discommoded, flights being cancelled, people’s plans being disrupted.”

Tánaiste Micheál Martin said: “I think it’s very serious for passengers. Thousand and thousands of passengers are at risk.

“I would urge all sides to go to the Labour Relations Commission to have this issue resolved.”


Aer Lingus’ chief corporate affairs officer Donal Moriarty accused the union of being “determined” to inflict disruption on the travelling public.

Speaking on RTÉ’s Morning Ireland, Mr Moriarty said: “Inevitably, if they do, it will involve much disruption for our customers.

“What we’re doing is preparing for that and we are communicating with our customers and try to lay out the options they have to minimise that disruption.

“However, it will be significant. The challenge at this time of year is that all airlines are busy, not just Aer Lingus, and seeking to re-accommodate passengers on other airlines is difficult.”


Mr Moriarty said the 24% pay increase being sought by IALPA is untenable.

IALPA conducted a paper ballot over the weekend after Aer Lingus raised concerns about the integrity of the initial electronic ballot.

President Mark Tighe said the result of the second ballot was “an incredible reaffirmation of our mandate for industrial action in pursuit of a meaningful pay offer”.

He said: “It is unconscionable that an employer would attempt to undermine our members’ democratic and constitutional right to vote for industrial action.”

Pilots were able to vote in various polling stations over the weekend.

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