The threatened closure of the Aer Lingus cabin crew base at Shannon may be averted after settlement proposals emerged from marathon talks at the Labour Relations Commission overnight.
Aer Lingus had threatened to outsource cabin crew jobs on three new transatlantic routes from Shannon using smaller planes after staff refused to operate the flights with just four cabin crew on board.
Under the proposals which emerged at 5am, the Shannon cabin crew base will be retained.
The work on the new routes will be carried out by direct Aer Lingus employees.
The initial flights from 6 January will operate with five cabin crew where possible to facilitate training and familiarisation with the new aircraft type.
However, the document drawn up by LRC Director of Conciliation Kevin Foley would permit a complement of four on a minority of flights up to March.
From then on, all flights would have four cabin crew on board.
However, there will be a review in July of the operation.
Aer Lingus will make all necessary information available to a union advisor subject to a confidentiality agreement.
There will also be a cash incentive for staff to operate with just four crew.
All cabin crew will receive eight additional "credits" worth a total of €36 per trip.
In addition, senior cabin crew will receive an extra 12 credits per return trip, worth €54.
The LRC believes that this package is the only basis on which agreement can be reached.
IMPACT Assistant General Secretary Michael Landers welcomed the fact that the initial flights would have five cabin crew where possible - a key union demand.
He said staff would prefer to work with five cabin crew rather than having the additional money.
Mr Landers added that he was confident that the July review would show that it was impractical to operate with fewer staff.
The cabin crew committee were to meet today to consider the proposals.
Aer Lingus management sources welcomed the proposals but said a ballot result from cabin crew was urgently needed.
Training for the routes was due to commence next Monday.