Aer Lingus To Meet Fórsa Representatives To Discuss Cost-Saving Proposals
Aer Lingus has agreed to meet representatives from the Fórsa trade union at the Workplace Relations Commission (WRC) for a conciliation hearing as the airline and its employees seek to come to an agreement on cost-saving proposals.
The news follows last week's news that Aer Lingus was threatening to unilaterally implement a range of tough measures after cabin crew voted overwhelmingly to reject a proposed deal, as well as news from earlier last week that Aer Lingus cabin crew had been warned by their trade union that the potential for compulsory redundancies would remain even if they voted in favour of a proposed structural change agreement and news from the previous week that up to 700 Aer Lingus jobs at Dublin, Cork and Shannon airports are in danger of being outsourced if staff fail to agree to changes to work practices and conditions at a ballot this week.
As reported by The Irish Times, Fórsa, which represents 1,300 cabin crew members, welcomed the Aer Lingus's decision to meet in the coming days. Since 82% of its members voted against the airline’s proposals last week, Aer Lingus ground staff have reportedly also since rejected what it reportedly described as the "one-sided" cost-saving proposals by a similar margin.
Workers are reportedly understood to be concerned about any workplace changes that are implemented being made on a permanent basis without any consideration for what happens should the sector bounce back.
Siptu, which reportedly represents approximately 1,100 individuals employed by Aer Lingus as ground crew at Dublin Airport, has reportedly written to Aer Lingus to confirm the ballot results, reportedly stressing that the proposals are not balanced enough in terms of a potential recovery in the sector.
Aer Lingus Statements
Aer Lingus reportedly reiterated this week the need to introduce cost reductions and work practice changes, and reportedly said that the business is facing "serious challenges" arising from the COVID-19 crisis.
Aer Lingus reportedly said, "The effects of the pandemic have been prolonged and are ongoing, and the requirement for immediate and structural change is urgent."
Many employees have reportedly been on reduced hours and income throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, with uncertainty as to when or if things might return to normal, and one industry source reportedly said, "The scale of the vote against the restructuring proposals reflects how people are feeling after such a long period of reduced income and prolonged uncertainty."
Calls For Supports And Optimism
Unions have reportedly been calling for industry-specific income supports for aviation for the past year on the basis that it will be among the last sectors to recover from a COVID-19 pandemic-related downturn. However, there is reportedly also optimism that international travel will once again open up as more individuals are vaccinated against COVID-19.
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