Taoiseach warns against using children ‘as pawns’ in Aer Lingus industrial dispute

Taoiseach Warns Against Using Children ‘As Pawns’ In Aer Lingus Industrial Dispute
Pilots at Aer Lingus have served notice to the airline of their intention to launch an indefinite work-to-rule from next Wednesday. Photo: PA
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By Cillian Sherlock, PA

It is “utterly reprehensible” that children are being “used as pawns” in an industrial relations dispute involving Aer Lingus, the Taoiseach has said.

Pilots at Aer Lingus served notice to the airline of their intention to launch an indefinite work-to-rule from next Wednesday.


It comes after the Irish Airline Pilots’ Association (Ialpa) voted overwhelmingly for industrial action in a dispute over pay earlier this week.

From next Wednesday, Ialpa members at the airline will not do any overtime or out-of-hours duties.

Taoiseach Simon Harris speaks to the media
Taoiseach Simon Harris urged those involved in the dispute to ‘step back from the brink’ (Brian Lawless/PA)


The pilots are seeking a pay increase of 24 per cent, which they say equates to inflation since the last pay rise in 2019.

Aer Lingus has described the industrial action as “entirely unnecessary” and warned that it will result in significant disruption to customers.

It has also characterised the pay ask as unrealistic.

Simon Harris urged the airline and the pilots to “sort this out”, noting that the matter had been considered by State workplace relations institutions.


Speaking on Thursday, Mr Harris said: “Many, many, many families across the country have seen parents and others go out to work over the course of the year and set aside a few bob to try and take their kids on a family holiday.



“And the idea that passengers – children due to go on their summer holiday – would be used as pawns in an industrial relations dispute that has already been considered by the Labour Court is utterly reprehensible, and people need to step back from the brink.”

Asked about what Government could do in the dispute, Mr Harris said it already provided the State’s industrial relations mechanisms.

He added: “I would absolutely encourage people to utilise them.

“And let me tell you this, people have a right to engage in industrial disputes but I think anybody who engages in an industrial relations dispute and does not use those mechanisms, I don’t imagine they’re going to get much gratitude or support from the people of Ireland, the parents of Ireland, trying to pack bags and bring their kids on holiday, not sure whether that’ll now be able to go ahead.


“So, get back in a room and sort this out is my very clear message.”

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