5/3 Update – Question and Answer

Letter to cabin crew members from Cabin Crew branch committee chair, Niall Mullally – view HERE

What is the current situation regarding the 5/3 proposal?

The Mazars Report has issued. You can see a copy of it HERE, or you may have already seen a copy on the Aer Lingus portal.

Why was the Mazars Report commissioned?

The purpose of the report was to assess the cost of 5 on 3 off, fixed pattern roster proposed by IMPACT and compare this with the cost of the “4a” measures in the Working Together Agreement of June 2016.

Was the Mazars Report able to do this?

Not quite. The basic problem is that Aer Lingus did not actually implement the “4a” measures as they should have done. Instead they implemented a much inferior version of the “4a” measures. For example, the 3rd day off post SFO and the 3rd day off in the 3-2-3-2 pattern has been implemented by clawing back the day elsewhere in the roster so that it is not a REAL additional day off. What Mazars actually costed was the inferior version of the “4a” measures; they acknowledge in their report that IMPACT has a different interpretation of the 3rd day off.

What is the Mazars report able to say?

It confirms that a fixed pattern 5 on 3 off roster is feasible and affordable. Mazars assess the total cost of implementing a 5/3 roster (for Dublin and Cork, excluding Cabin Managers, 5 day fortnight and trainers) at €1.5 million. This is far LESS than Aer Lingus have consistently claimed that a proper 5/3 roster would cost. It is also less than the value of the “4a” measures if they were implemented properly.

Mazars also confirm that the cost of implementing the inferior, Aer Lingus version of the “4a” measures to be approximately €500,000.

Does the 3rd day off make a big difference?

Yes, it does. If the 3rd day off was a GENUINE additional day off, the cost of the “4a” measures would be much larger. Aer Lingus own estimate (in its submission to the Labour Court in 2015) was that a rolling 3-2-2-2 pattern would cost €900,000 in additional days off. It is reasonable to assume that a 3-2-3-2 pattern would cost DOUBLE this in terms of days off, ie €1,800,000. The cost of the other “4a” measures would need to be added to this.

What about future costs?

Originally, it was agreed that Mazars would look at the summer and winter schedules for 2015, 2016, 2017 and 2018. Aer Lingus committed to making sufficient technical resources available to enable this to be completed by end September 2015. Obviously this didn’t happen and there were severe delays attributed to Jeppesen who were contracted to perform the roster simulation and analysis. At this point, Jeppesen and Mazars have only analysed Summer 2015, Winter 2015 and Summer 2016. The Mazars report is therefore based on these periods only. However, one trend is clear: as the Transatlantic fleet size increases, the cost of the “4a” measures (even the inferior Aer Lingus version) increases at a faster rate than the cost of the 5/3 fixed pattern roster. This is entirely as IMPACT expected and predicted; it is a natural consequence of a fixed pattern roster structure that is becomes more efficient with larger fleet sizes. It means that as the fleet size grows in years to come, the 5/3 fixed pattern roster becomes even more feasible and affordable.

What happens next?

IMPACT will meet Aer Lingus next week to discuss the 5/3 proposal and the Mazars report. Our position will be simple. We now know the cost of introducing the fixed pattern roster. It is €1.5 million, including a generous allowance of €275,000 for once-off costs such as training and administration. This is less than even Aer Lingus themselves contemplated spending on the “4a” measures. We think this is a reasonable demand to introduce the major improvements that cabin crew need in their rosters to allow for any semblance of proper work-life balance. We will await the company’s response to this and let you know the outcome.