Aer Lingus is to restore some of the pay cuts imposed on staff due to the Covid-19 pandemic - but the cuts will be restored more slowly for staff based in Shannon.

In an update for employees, the airline said that on the assumption that the Government would align with the European Commission's free movement proposal for air travel in October, it was appropriate to give clarity to staff who have had their pay and hours cut by up to 70% in recent months. 

Aer Lingus said that "as a direct result of the co-operation received to date across a range of business measures and on the basis of continued cooperation", staff in Dublin and Cork Ground Operations currently working at 30% of pre-pandemic will see their pay rise to 50%.

Those in Shannon Ground Operations, who are currently laid off, will return to rostered duty and see their hours and pay restored to just 40% of normal. 

Aer Lingus said that as the situation in Shannon is very different to other bases, an incentivised winter leave programme will be available for ground staff there. 

The company said it hoped to increase hours again towards the end of the year, but stressed this was dependent on work demand returning and continued cooperation through this crisis. 

In Maintenance and Engineering, where a ballot in respect of change initiatives was passed by the Craft Group of Unions, the airline will start implementation, and extend the voluntary severance scheme to employees in Line Maintenance.

Aer Lingus noted that it has failed to reach an overall agreement with the cabin crew union Fórsa to bring certainty to future resource planning in Inflight Services. 

It says that given the seriousness of the situation, it will increase the pay and hours of cabin crew based in Dublin and Cork from 30% to 50%.

However, again cabin crew based in Shannon will fare worse, with hours and pay only increased to 40% of normal. 

"While this is below the level elsewhere, unfortunately it reflects the reality regarding the Shannon operation.

"We will also introduce an incentivised winter leave programme for Shannon-based cabin crew," the airline stated.

To address the "crew surplus", the airline is introducing a voluntary severance scheme and incentivised career breaks which will be open to all crew. 

Aer Lingus noted that it had experienced "cooperation and flexibility" across the cabin crew workforce, with continued professional delivery in the "very limited" operation available.

However, it cautions: "To sustain or increase hours we will need continued co-operation with the current practices, in line with collective agreements and Labour Court recommendations. This is essential to our ability to compete, restore operations and ultimately further increase pay and hours."

The airline  says it aspires to increasing hours and pay further, but says such increases will depend on the recovery of demand and operations in each base.

Aer Lingus also pledges to assist staff in applying for social welfare income support, and to provide the required data to the Department of Social Protection by the 25 September with the help of additional resources allocated to deal with the "large volume" of queries.

This follows complaints from staff that the airline was refusing to complete the documentation required to allow them to claim income support for the days they are not currently working.