SIPTU members at Shannon Airport are to ballot for strike action in a dispute over pay cuts.

The airport has been badly hit by the Covid-19 pandemic, with traffic down 91% in September alone.

A spokesperson for Shannon Group, which includes Shannon Airport, confirmed that the company had been forced to unilaterally cut pay by 20%, though employees are continuing to work their full hours.

SIPTU Aviation Organiser Neil McGowan said that the union had refused to engage in negotiations on restructuring until pay was restored to normal levels - but that at a meeting today, management had refused to do so.

He said that in light of that, SIPTU would commence preparations to hold a ballot of members.

The Shannon Group spokesperson said: "As a result of the devastation caused by Covid-19, with passenger numbers at Shannon Airport down 91% in September, Shannon Group has had to take difficult but necessary measures to reduce costs."

While those measures include the 20% pay reduction, the company stressed that the cut for staff currently working full-time was temporary, and that the measures were necessary to ensure the long-term survival of the business.

Ryanair has already threatened to close its bases at Shannon and Cork if the Government does not amend its air travel restrictions by the middle of this month.

Meanwhile, Aer Lingus had laid off all its staff in Shannon, but has since brought them back to work on 40% of normal pay and hours.