Saturday, 4 June 2011

Aer Lingus faces pilot action as talks break down


Industrial action by pilots set to start Tuesday

- Talks between Irish airline Aer Lingus (AERL.I) and its pilots union broke down on Saturday forcing the airline to prepare contingency plans for industrial action it warned could cause a full cancellation of operations.

The airline, whose flights were halted for three weeks in January in an industrial dispute with cabin crew, has said the pilots' action during its peak summer season could have a significant adverse affect on profits.

Two days of talks with pilots from the Irish Airline's Pilots' Association (IALPA) at Ireland's Labour Relations Commission "ended without a successful conclusion" on Saturday morning, Aer Lingus said in a statement.

It said it was "considering contingency plans" and added it was allowing customers travelling on Tuesday and Wednesday, the first two days of the planned action, to change their bookings free of charge.

Members of IALPA from Dublin and the southern city of Cork have said they will not work on rostered free days or annual leave days and will report for duty one hour late in a protest over what they say are unreasonable working hours.

Aer Lingus last week warned this could cause a full cancellation of operations from its main airports.

Faced with a sharp economic contraction in its home market, higher fuel costs and constant pressure from its larger and leaner rival Ryanair, Aer Lingus has cut costs sharply, sparking tensions with staff.


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