SIPTU is seeking a meeting with Aer Lingus over the introduction of increased security measures because of theft from passengers, damage to company property and millions of euro worth of stock losses every year at the airline.
Last week CCTV cameras were installed in Aer Lingus areas of Terminal 2 at Dublin Airport, random security patrols of staff and lost property areas were introduced and the monitoring and recording of staff boarding and exiting aircraft got under way, to stop what the airline described as the theft of guest property, company stock losses, damage to company property and interference with colleagues' property.
In a memo to airline staff, seen by RTÉ News, Aer Lingus's Chief Operating Officer Mike Rutter said the measures were designed to "deter the minority of staff who bring our standards down".
Mr Rutter said in recent months "incidents of unacceptable behaviour continue to be reported across the business" and "some serious issues" necessitated the involvement of gardaí and local and federal law enforcement agencies in the United States.
He also said "guest property and company stock losses remain at levels significantly above the industry norms" despite investment in new technologies and management processes.
He said the measures would move Aer Lingus in line with other carriers.
SIPTU, which represents some staff at Aer Lingus, said workers are unhappy with what it described as the "excessive nature of the surveillance" and said its seeking to meet the airlines to discuss those concerns.
It called on the airline to "provide evidence as to whether there is any basis to the claims and to follow appropriate procedures, due process and, if required, report them to the appropriate authorities".
The union said it will contact the airline today to request an immediate meeting with its Chief Executive Officer Stephen Kavanagh.
In a statement Aer Lingus said it "recognises that the vast majority of our colleagues come to work every day and perform their duties in line with our values. However, where this is not the case we seek to improve standards and to adopt a zero tolerance approach to unsocial behaviour".
The airline said it has "fully engaged" with union representatives in advance of the roll out of CCTV and random patrols and said the measures were informed by external advisers and is in keeping with industry standard practices.
Aer Lingus was keen to point out that the majority of its 4,500 staff behave in an exemplary manner, but it said a "tiny subset" behave in a manner that falls below the required standard.
An academic in employment law has said that CCTV monitoring of staff always causes problems.
Speaking to RTÉ’s Morning Ireland, Eddie Keane, Lecturer in Employment Law at University of Limerick, described Aer Lingus’s move as "over the top", pointing out that the vast majority of staff, who are not suspected of any wrongdoing, will be constantly monitored by CCTV.
Mr Keane said the biggest concern relates to the video footage obtained, and the wider issue of who will be viewing the material and where it will be stored.
Mr Keane said he believes the solution to the tensions surrounding the issue, will be found in the compiling of a data protection impact assessment, which would involve input from all sides.