Aer Lingus is to cut the pay and working hours of staff to 30% of pre-Covid-19 levels and implement layoffs after unions failed to meet the airline's 6pm deadline to accept a new programme of work practice reforms.

In a new video message to staff issued this evening, CEO Sean Doyle said not all unions had accepted the Covid Crisis Recovery Plan document by this evening's 6pm deadline, and as a result the proposals in the document have now lapsed.

He said the 6pm deadline was already an extension of a process which it had been agreed should have ended last week.

"Aer Lingus will now proceed with the planned layoffs and further reductions to working hours and pay that were previously communicated," he told staff.

Mr Doyle also said the company will proceed with implementing the work practice and work organisation changes which had previously been communicated to staff, saying all of the changes were "absolutely required in the context of the unprecedented crisis that we face".

Earlier. the cabin crew union Fórsa had said it would take until next Monday to complete a ballot of members.

And this evening, Fórsa said it was pressing ahead with its ballot of cabin crew on the proposals in the Covid Crisis Recovery Plan. 

The union said it was not unreasonable to take a week to carry out a ballot on proposals that would be in place for 18 months.

Earlier, SIPTU had said it could not hold a ballot due to time pressure and public health considerations, but said the proposals were the best possible outcome in the current circumstances. 

Staff had raised concerns about the extent of the work practice reforms demanded.

They also had concerns about proposed arrangements where over-payments of wages in the short-term where there is little work will have to be repaid at a later date.

SIPTU Divisional Organiser Karan O'Loughlin ruled out a ballot due to pressure of time and public health restrictions. 

She told members that the proposals, while not ideal were the best that could be achieved at present. 

The airline has already halved the pay and hours of most staff and had also warned of layoffs in a number of areas including Shannon. The company is availing of the Government's Temporary Wage Subsidy Scheme. 

In her memo, Ms O'Loughlin said the unions believed Aer Lingus when it said that it is in an "unprecedented state of peril" due to the collapse of the aviation industry. 

In a statement this evening, Aer Lingus said: "Unfortunately Aer Lingus has not received the required confirmation of acceptance from all of the unions within the ICTU Group of Unions.

"Aer Lingus will now progress with the implementation of the planned layoffs and reductions to working hours and pay. Aer Lingus will also progress with the implementation of the work practice and work organisation changes.

"The agreed deadline for acceptance of the Covid Crisis Recovery Plan document expired last week and an extension was provided until 6pm on 15th June. It had been agreed that the discussions would be structured such that the document would not need to be put to a ballot.

"It was never contemplated that the process would continue into this week, whether for balloting or any other reason. Such is the urgency of the unprecedented crisis that we face, Aer Lingus now has to move to implementation of its previously communicated plans."