IMPACT says closure of cabin crew base at Shannon is a vicious and unnecessary blow to loyal staff

Shannon Airport

IMPACT, which represents cabin crew staff at Aer Lingus, has condemned the decision by management at the airline to close the cabin crew base at Shannon from the end of March 2014. IMPACT said that the measure was an act of wanton destruction upon the livelihoods of workers who are loyal to the company, and a potentially vicious blow to the economy of the Shannon region.
 
IMPACT said its members in Aer Lingus across the country will fight the closure. The union said that there was still sufficient time to find a way to resolve outstanding issues and reverse the decision.
 
The closure was announced this morning by Fergus Wilson, Chief Operating Officer and deputy CEO of the airline. The company announced in September that it would outsource cabin crew services on new transatlantic service from January 2014.
 
IMPACT official Michael Landers said that the action of Aer Lingus management was entirely unnecessary. “We have made consistent efforts to have discussions with the company on the appropriate crew levels for this new service. Management has attempted to bully its own staff into submission with an ultimatum, and then slammed the door on discussions when it announced it would outsource crew.
 
“Management did this despite the fact that cabin crew representatives made it very clear they were willing to discuss the matter further and had not, contrary to claims by management, refused to crew the flights with a complement of four crew members. All we sought was a common sense approach to the task of planning the new service. Blaming the union that represents staff for management’s own actions was disingenuous at best.”
 
Mr Landers added, “Aer Lingus management has wilfully disregarded the concerns of its own experienced transatlantic cabin crew. It has also shown a willingness to play with peoples livelihoods to make a point, as it cast out a group of 30 cabin crew trainees two weeks ago to pave the way for its outsourcing plan. This action was, again, unnecessary in addition to being unfair.
 
“Now, the deputy chief executive has turned up at Shannon to crush the livelihoods of loyal staff for whom Shannon is both a workplace and a part of the world they call home. Management’s preference for drastic and unnecessary actions will deliver another in a long line of body blows for the Shannon region.
 
“This makes no sense, and the decisions made today will wreak local economic destruction for a long time to come. It is a cruel, unnecessary and vengeful action by management against its own staff, whose loyalty to the airline is a matter of record. That loyalty has, more than once, saved the airline from financial catastrophe and helped it return to profitability.”
 
The pilots’ branch of the union, IALPA, has said that its members are monitoring developments at Shannon. Pilot representatives say their agreement to operate the new transatlantic service is based on an understanding that Aer Lingus cabin crew would work on the new service and has urged management to return to talks with cabin crew.
 
Cabin crew at Aer Lingus are continuing to ballot for industrial action on a range of issues including rostering, breaches of current agreements and management’s decision to outsource the transatlantic service in 2014. The ballot closes next Wednesday, 30th October at noon.
UPDATE on Wednesday 30th October: Please note that the ballot deadline is now extended to Monday, 4th November