Aer Lingus and union roster talks to resume tomorrow

Thursday 05 June 2014 23.54
Cabin crew staged a one-day strike last month in protest at their rosters
Cabin crew staged a one-day strike last month in protest at their rosters

Aer Lingus cabin crew union IMPACT has reiterated that the threat of further industrial action remains if the talks with the airline over their roster dispute break down.

After ten hours of talks, management and unions adjourned their negotiations, but will resume in the morning.

IMPACT Assistant General Secretary Michael Landers said that very little progress had been made and a lot of talking remained to be done, though he acknowledged that it was positive that the two sides were talking.

He said there had been a lot of talk about the implementation of the five days on, three days off roster the union have been demanding, but he was not sure there had been a lot of listening.

Mr Landers said there were a lot of sticking points that still needed to be addressed.

Asked whether the threat of industrial action remained on the table, he said that went without saying, noting that 98% of cabin crew had voted for strike action.

He said if the talks broke down, they would have to reconsider their position on industrial action.

Aer Lingus Director of Communications Declan Kearney said that some progress had been made today, and that he was reasonably positive about further progress being made.

He said that since yesterday the airline had been offering to implement the the five days on, three days off roster on a cost neutral basis.

Mr Kearney said they were going through technical issues regarding the basis on which that might be done.

The airline's operation was grounded last Friday after 1,200 cabin crew went on a one-day strike arguing that their rosters were erratic and imposed excessive fatigue on them.

Earlier, arriving for the talks, Mr Landers said the talks were at a delicate stage.

Staff travel privileges not reinstated

He said the fact that Aer Lingus had not reinstated staff travel privileges did not bode well.

Mr Landers said the airline needed to accept the union's proposals and make reasonable counter-proposals of its own.

He said that to date it had not done that, and the union wanted to see where it was prepared to travel to.

He said that at least the company was now talking to them about the roster the cabin crew are seeking.

However, he said the company had not yet put anything concrete on the table, adding that today would be a test of its sincerity.

The Aer Lingus position is that introducing the roster sought by cabin crew could cost €5m, and would require cost-offsetting measures.

Those measures could include transferring 300 cabin crew jobs to North America, as well as reduced access to part-time work, and obliging staff to take their annual leave in the winter.

Management sources said they are prepared to consider some changes to the cabin crew roster, but only if they do not cost the airline money.