Pay increase dispute to ground EI

Old Mar 29, 2001, 11:19 am
  #1  
JRF
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Join Date: Jun 2000
Location: AUS
Programs: DL Flying Colonel
Posts: 4,023
Pay increase dispute to ground EI

http://www.unison.ie/irish_independe...&issue_id=4191

AN industrial dispute is threatening to ground Aer Lingus tomorrow as SIPTU staff demand pay hikes equal to those secured by IMPACT last month.

The airline confirmed last night that it had provisionally cancelled nearly all flights in and out of the country, apart from its north America services.

Some 2,900 clerical, cleaning, catering and ground handling staff are seeking extra pay rises similar to those secured by 1,350 IMPACT cabin crew, following two one-day stoppages.

The SIPTU staff want early retirement options and a shorter pay incremental scale, similar to the terms for cabin crew.

Owen Reidy, Aer Lingus branch secretary, said SIPTU would not accept "a two-tier industrial relations policy from Aer Lingus, where clerical and operative workers are treated as second-class citizens."

He said SIPTU had written to the company in November and December saying that if any group in the airline got significantly higher pay awards, without increased productivity in return, "we would seek exactly the same terms, out of equity and fairness to clerical and operative staff".

SIPTU maintains that the Labour Court was also made aware of this position which was repeated to the airline's chief executive, Michael Foley, at a meeting on February 27.

"Unfortunately, the company did not heed our warnings and went ahead with introducing this two tier pay policy," Mr Reidy added.

In response, SIPTU has lodged a claim to secure equal pay increases with IMPACT.

This claim was rejected by the company last Friday and led to the series of threatened one-day stoppages, beginning tomorrow, and due again next Friday and on Thursday, April 12.

This is the third time in six months that the airline has been forced to abandon its schedule due to industrial action.

Aer Lingus corporate affairs director, Dan Loughrey said the company could not do business this way, with employees coming back for large wage increases four months after agreeing pay rises through the Labour Court.

He said SIPTU was now seeking catch-up payments of between 2,000 and 4,000 for each worker.

The National Implementation Body (NIB), the authority designed to defend the national pay deal, expressed "serious concern" about the dispute last night.

and It asked the Labour Court to intervene, which has subsequently asked both sides to attend talks.

A spokesperson for the airline said last night that it is hoped that the discussions could avert the proposed action.

The union only gave two days notice of its strike and is relying on a ballot for industrial action held last autumn as justification under the Industrial Relations Act.

The latest industrial action is likely to further hinder the airline management's plans to float the company on the stock market later this year and attract an array of international investors.

Pilots are currently seeking a 70pc pay rise and if they secure it, SIPTU has signalled that it will lead to further claims.
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