SIPTU has notified the DAA that it will stage industrial action on Monday 1st October if the pensions dispute is not resolved in the meantime.

The industrial action will take the form of two staggered two-hour work stoppages on a location by location basis.

The notice of industrial action came from SIPTU Aviation sector organiser Dermot O'Loughlin, who claims the dispute has arisen as a consequence of the employer's decision to renege on their obligations under the relevant collective agreement.

Mr. O'Loughlin said that as always SIPTU remained available to achieve fair and reasonable outcomes to this industrial episode.

As yet no other unions at either Aer Lingus or the DAA have expressed any intention to serve notice of industrial action.

Earlier a DAA spokesman said the company would be very disappointed if such notice were served. 

Aer Lingus said that it remained fully committed to working with all the relevant parties to find an appropriate solution to the IASS funding shortfall. 

Labour Relations Commission Chief Executive Kieran Mulvey confirmed that talks aimed at resolving the dispute had been adjourned.

The talks relate to the €700m deficit in the Irish Aviation Pension Scheme (IASS) which involves Aer Lingus and the DAA.

Mr. Mulvey said this was to allow the Commission to try to formulate a proposal which might have a reasonable prospect of resolving the row over the next number of days.

He said when that task was completed, the commission will recall the parties.

SIPTU leader Jack O'Connor said that this was a unique situation where the row was not the fault of Aer Lingus, the DAA or the unions, but that the blame lay with the Pensions Regulator.

The SIPTU leader blamed the dispute on tough new funding regulations for pensions which he said would have the ridiculous and absurd effect of forcing schemes to close instead of protecting them.

He forecast that the pensions funding standard issue would lead to many strikes over the next 3 to 6 months as up to 310,000 workers would have to battle to preserve their pension entitlements.

The Dublin Airport Authority said that the company is currently engaged in a conciliation process in relation to the pensions issue under the auspices of the Labour Relations Commission.

He said notice of industrial action would be unwarranted and "will merely cause unnecessary concern and inconvenience to the travelling public.

Complex pension issue

Sources have described the issues involving the IASS pension scheme as particularly complex, partly because Aer Lingus is now a private sector company, while the DAA is a state agency.

In addition, the IASS has a residual liability for pensions for workers at aircraft maintenance firm SR Technics, which closed some years ago with the loss of over 1100 jobs.