Sale of Aer Lingus

aerlingusplanesIMPACT trade union maintains the view that the proposed takeover of Aer Lingus is bad for jobs, for Aer Lingus workers and for Ireland’s connectivity and economic development. The union remains concerned that any assurances given by either company offers no real guarantees to address these concerns.

The announcement this evening (Tuesday) by the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport, Paschal Donohue TD, that the Government intends to support the bid, will not come as a surprise to any of the staff or travelling public at Aer Lingus, but it will be a cause of concern to both staff and passengers.

For the staff at Aer Lingus, there are genuine concerns of compulsory redundancies if the deal goes through, along with the prospect of a further erosion of terms and conditions in the inevitable restructuring of the company.

Any assurances on the future use of the Heathrow slots will evaporate once the seven year period has elapsed, after which these vital connection points can be moved to where they will make larger profits for the airline.

Thereafter, the interests of IAG shareholders will always trump the interests of the Irish economy and the Irish travelling public.

Letter from Aer Lingus CEO Stephen Kavanagh to Minister for Transport

IMPACT trade union sought a number of specific assurances in the event that a formal bid by IAG for the state’s share in Aer Lingus is successful.

IMPACT communicated a number of points to the CEOs of both companies in March this year.

IMPACT outlined these commitments without prejudice to the fact that it remains our view that we don’t believe that the proposed takeover is a good idea for jobs, for Aer Lingus workers or for Ireland’s connectivity and economic development.

The response by Aer Lingus CEO Stephen Kavanagh today comes almost three months later, and was prompted by a direct communication from the Minister for Transport. IMPACT has received no correspondence from the company on these issues.

Far from offering any real assurances, or directly responding to the concerns we raised with the company, this letter is designed merely to keep the prospect of a deal with the Irish Government alive.

Unfortunately, it has always been our experience that Aer Lingus management will defer any engagement with us on issues of concern until it becomes necessary through the threat of industrial action or the intervention of a third party. The letter will be regarded by Aer Lingus staff as a gesture designed to keep the Government on side without offering any substantial assurances to staff.

One of the letter’s main weaknesses is that it claims the company does not foresee a likelihood for compulsory redundancy. This contradicts an earlier confirmation by IAG’s CEO that compulsory redundancies are indeed likely in the event of a successful takeover by the IAG group. The transport minister conceded inevitable redundancies tonight during an interview with RTE’s Prime Time programme.

The assurances the union has sought from the two companies include the following:

  • No compulsory redundancies and a pre-agreed staff friendly redeployment scheme forming part of a suite of collective agreements to be underpinned in a legally binding agreement.
  • Identifying, honouring and respecting all existing collective agreements for all new and existing staff.
  • Protecting agreed pay rates, terms and conditions.
  • Maintaining direct employment as the norm.
  • No offshoring of cabin crew or pilot bases unless by agreement.
  • Agreeing a protocol that would ensure that staff of any IAG group cannot be called upon to be involved in Aer Lingus work in circumstances of a dispute of any nature in Aer Lingus.
  • Establishing an Irish/Aer Lingus presence on the IAG board, and the inclusion of a worker representative on any newly composed Aer Lingus board within the IAG group.