Aer Lingus warns on operating profits, as cabin crew accept Labour Court recommendations

Thursday 12 June 2014 18.36
Aer Lingus cabin crew accept Labour Court recommendations
Aer Lingus cabin crew accept Labour Court recommendations

Aer Lingus has said the threat of a strike by cabin crew for June 16 and 18 - which has now been called off - has caused "significant damage" to its trading and forward bookings several months into the future.

The airline's shares were 3.2% lower in Dublin trade today.

Aer Lingus issued a trading update in respect of its full year 2014 operating outlook today.

It said that assuming that no further strikes are threatened, it expects that its 2014 operating profits (before net exceptional items) will be 10% to 20% lower than last year. 

"The outcome will depend in part on the speed with which we can win back customer confidence," Aer Lingus said.  

Meanwhile, the Aer Lingus cabin crew committee has accepted the Labour Court recommendations aimed at averting industrial action by cabin crew.

The recommendation provides for a further talks process overseen by the Labour Court.

It also provides for the recruitment of 20 additional cabin crew and restoration to cabin crew of staff travel privileges, which were withdrawn after last month's strike.

In his recommendation, Labour Court chairman Kevin Duffy said the two sides should establish a technical group to consider the introduction of a five day on, three day off roster for short haul cabin crew. 

They should initially report back to him three weeks after the parties accept the recommendation. 

He noted that any new roster arrangements must be consistent with delivery of a high level of productivity set out in a previous agreement known as "Greenfield", and must not affect the airline's cost base.

The parties should then proceed to a trial of the new five/three roster for the short-haul cabin crew concerned. 

Cabin crew operating on the San Francisco route are to be granted a third day off after duty. The Court said this should be accepted in full settlement of IMPACT's claim for time off for this category of staff.

The Labour Court also recommended that Aer Lingus should commence recruitment of 20 additional cabin crew staff in order to facilitate new rostering arrangements and the provision of additional time off for certain categories of cabin crew including those on the San Francisco route.

The union's claim for further time off for cabin crew on the Shannon-Dublin to Toronto route should be addressed in further negotiation to be completed within three months.
 
The Court also recommended further negotiation on disagreements about interpretations of collective agreements. 

Mr Duffy also urged Aer Lingus to establish an internal forum to improve the manner in which industrial disputes are addressed. He said the Labour Court will remain available to assist the parties in implementing this interim recommendation.

He also urged both management and cabin crew to refrain from any form of industrial action or interference with normal working in relation to any of these matters. 

Management sources have described the recommendation as "constructive".