Unions bid to avoid lay-offs at Irish Aviation Authority with counter-proposal

Forfas and other unions at the Irish Aviation Authority (IAA) have put forward counter-proposals to the IAA to avoid lay-offs at the authority.

Due to the Covid-19 pandemic, air traffic has decreased by more than 80% with the IAA sustaining a sharp drop in revenues since mid-March.

The bulk of the authority’s revenues of €197m last year was made up of €129m in ‘en route’ aviation-related services.

An IAA spokesman said that staff pay for April and May was protected and the authority remains in discussions with unions as air traffic volumes continue to remain low.

The spokesman said that the IAA has already implemented “significant cost-cutting measures”.

The spokesman said that in the talks with unions “we are exploring mechanisms to continue to manage costs through this difficult period”.

He stressed: “There has been no change to staff terms and conditions.”

The 2019 annual report for the IAA shows that staff there are generally well paid with 374 earning more than €100,000 per annum.

The IAA spokesman said: “The IAA has prudently built cash reserves in recent years and these are being used to maintain liquidity at this time.

We have, nonetheless, had to implement significant cost-containment measures in response to the crisis.

At the end of last year, the IAA had €20.1m in cash reserves.

The spokesman said that the IAA’s full aviation safety and air traffic management service “has played an important role in Ireland’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic, ensuring the delivery of vital cargo supplies such as food, medicines and medical supplies to Ireland.”

He added there are positive signs that the decline in air traffic has reached the bottom and air traffic will start to gradually recover in the second half of the year.

He said: “As an island nation, Ireland relies on aviation service for our economic growth and wellbeing. We are confident that by re-opening aviation from July onwards, we can play our part in kick-starting the Irish economy and saving jobs and businesses, both directly in aviation and those reliant on aviation.”

A spokesman for Forfas stated in talks with the IAA “Fórsa and other unions have presented a counter-proposal designed to avoid lay-offs and provide the required savings.

”The approach has been to try and address the problems collaboratively. Discussions on these proposals have been taking place last week and this week.

“We need to prepare the ground for an eventual recovery in aviation activity. Any measures agreed now will be designed to facilitate pay and jobs recovery in line with the recovery of the industry, and this is similar to the approach we’ve sought to adopt in other employments in the sector.”

The spokesman also said that “all parties concerned have accepted what needs to be done in the short term and are currently working collaboratively to implement the necessary measures”.

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