Industrial action at Aer Lingus on 19 November may be averted following a joint ICTU/IBEC initiative aimed at resolving the row over pensions.

However, the two hour stoppage planned for that day has not yet been called off.

In a statement to the stock exchange, Aer Lingus confirmed that it would participate in the structure of re-engagement proposed by IBEC and ICTU on a voluntary and non-binding basis.

If it considers the solution appropriate, it will put the matter to Aer Lingus shareholders for approval.

The airline also welcomed the ICTU/IBEC proposal that unions should withdraw the notice of industrial action.

It stressed that any new pension arrangements to improve the pension prospects of affected members of IASS would be linked to cost-offsetting measures.

However, SIPTU Sector Organiser Dermot O'Loughlin said the union expects Aer Lingus to confirm that it will participate in a meaningful process that includes the Labour Court.

They also want an assurance about a timeframe for concluding negotiations.

SIPTU has called an emergency meeting of its Aer Lingus pension committee for the morning to consdier the situation.

He said members would require a response to these clarifications to allow the pensions committee to give serious consideration to withdrawing the notice for industrial action.

The IMPACT trade union has confirmed that it has accepted the proposals, and informed sources suggested the board of Aer Lingus would also buy into the plan.

IBEC Director of Industrial Relations Brendan McGinty and ICTU official Liam Berney formulated a five-point plan involving the Labour Relations Commission and the Labour Court.

The board of Aer Lingus discussed the proposals on a conference call this afternoon, and though their decision has not been formally confirmed, it is expected that they will accept the proposals.

The airline had previously refused to consider going to the Labour Court.

IMPACT, which represents cabin crew at Aer Lingus welcomed the intervention, and confirmed that it was prepared to attend further talks in the Labour Relations Commission and Labour Court.

National Secretary Matt Staunton described the initiative as a significant and welcome development with the potential to quickly move the parties towards a resolution based on the needs of the company, the pension scheme and the staff concerned.