The cabin crew branch of IMPACT trade union has served notice of industrial action on Aer Lingus. All cabin crew will engage in a 24-hour work stoppage on Friday, 30th May, commencing at 0:01hrs. Cabin crew members will place pickets at Dublin, Cork and Shannon airports for the duration of the stoppage.
IMPACT official Michael Landers said that cabin crew were ready to take immediate action because the company had failed to engage on the rostering issue for so long. “Cabin crew have sought to engage with the company on this issue on several occasions over several years but the company has simply refused to consider anything other than the erratic rostering patterns that have become the norm at the airline. It has resulted in an exhausted crew who feel now that the only option left to them is the option of last resort, which is a work stoppage. It’s regrettable that it has come to this, but the current arrangements are unsustainable.”
Mr Landers said that the cabin crew branch is confident that alternative rosters could be implemented with no loss of productivity or at any extra cost to the airline. “What we’re seeking here is a system that ensures adequate rest between blocks of duty, and which we know is in place in other airlines. In the long term, it would be a more sustainable approach for the airline as well as for the crew.”
Currently, cabin crew can work up to 60 hours in a seven day period, resulting in shift patterns of six working days and one rest day, followed by six more working days.
IMPACT cabin crew completed a ballot for industrial action last week. The ballot called for industrial action, up to and including strike action, if the airline fails to agree the implementation of a revised roster for short haul services, and to implement acceptable time off arrangements after long haul flights. The ballot was passed with 97% of balloted crew in favour.
The ballot also called for action in the event of further breaches by management of existing collective agreements, and if the company fails to implement an outstanding Labour Court recommendation on supervisors contracts.
Mr Landers explained that cabin crew have sought a roster similar to those for pilots at the airline, of five work days followed by three rest days (known as a ‘5:3’ roster pattern), which is used by several other airlines in Europe for the rostering of cabin crew.