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Aer Lingus: Airline and IALPA to have separate meetings over pay



Aer Lingus: Airline and IALPA to have separate meetings over pay

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At least 244 Aer Lingus flights have been cancelled

Aer Lingus and Irish Air Line Pilot’s Association (IALPA) have accepted invitations by Ireland’s Labour Court to attend separate meetings on Tuesday.

Earlier, the tánaiste (Irish deputy prime minister) has described the Aer Lingus pay dispute as “shocking”, adding that the needs of the Irish travelling public were being ignored by both sides.

In a statement, Aer Lingus said the Labour Court requested it to provide a briefing on the pilot pay dispute, Irish broadcaster RTÉ reported.

Thousands of passengers face uncertainty over the next week as pilots begin industrial action in a dispute over pay.

At least 244 Aer Lingus flights have now been cancelled.

Irish broadcaster RTÉ reported that Micheál Martin has appealed to the Irish Air Line Pilots’ Association (IALPA) and Aer Lingus management to “get around the table” on the basis of an existing interim recommendation from Ireland’s Labour Court.

Members of the IALPA begin an indefinite work-to-rule period from Wednesday and will also take part in a further eight-hour strike on Saturday 29 June.

‘Thousands of families’

Speaking in Luxembourg, where he is attending a meeting of EU foreign ministers, Mr Martin said: “I think it is shocking the degree to which the needs of those who travel are being, in my view, ignored in the context of this dispute.

“There’s only one way to resolve this, it’s through negotiations and getting around the table.”

He added that the “most effective way” to end the dispute would be by using the “industrial relations machinery that we have available”.

Mr Martin said that the Labour Court has issued a recommendation to “form the basis for negotiations.”

“I would appeal to both sides to get around the table and to think of the many thousands of families and workers across the country.

“This is the one time in the year that they get an opportunity to travel for their holidays. They’ve planned for these, they’ve saved for these.”

‘No effort to negotiate’

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Aer Lingus said customers are entitled to a full refund as one of their options

IALPA president Capt Mark Tighe said that pilots had been forced to “escalate” the dispute because of “antagonism by Aer Lingus management”.

“Rather than meeting with IALPA for direct negotiations to resolve this dispute, the airline is sending letters to IALPA threatening to cut members’ terms and conditions by unilaterally terminating collective agreements.

“Aer Lingus’ legal representatives have also written to each member of the IALPA executive committee this week, in their personal capacities, threatening to issue proceedings in the High Court for alleged unlawful conduct regarding an alleged increase in pilot absence due to illness.”

He said that Aer Lingus had not “sought any meetings” since the notice of work-to-rule was served.

The IALPA added there has been “no effort to negotiate a settlement”.

“The scale of next week’s anticipated flight cancellations, as described by Aer Lingus, illustrates the extent to which the company relies on the flexibility and goodwill of pilots,” Capt Tighe said.

“As always, IALPA remains open to talking with Aer Lingus in direct negotiations to settle this dispute in a way that fairly deals with pilots’ pay.”

On Sunday, the IALPA president said claims by Aer Lingus that it had “repeatedly sought” to engage with the union were not accurate.

‘Sought to engage’

However, in a statement, the airline said Aer Lingus was “available for meaningful direct discussions with IALPA” but that the pilots association “has to date refused to enter into those meaningful discussions and it ended the most recent direct discussions with the company on Monday 17 June”.

They said Aer Lingus wrote to IALPA on Sunday 23 June requesting discussions and that it also asked for the association to “re-engage with the industrial relations machinery of the state (the Labour Court and the Workplace Relations Commission) but at this point they have rejected this request”.

Aer Lingus regional flights, operated by Emerald Airlines, between Belfast and Great Britain are unaffected by IALPA’s industrial action and will operate as scheduled.

What do I do if my Aer Lingus flight is cancelled?

The airline has said passengers with flights booked between 26 June and 2 July have a number of options available.

Each should be contacted via email or SMS, or through their travel agent.

For customers who have booked directly with Aer Lingus, there is the option to change flights online. The company said it will waive the fare difference and any change fee if rebooking for a later date.

There is also the option to request a full refund or a refund voucher, which can be redeemed within five years.

Aer Lingus said passengers who booked through a travel agent or third party must contact those companies directly.

“Unfortunately, Aer Lingus is unable to assist directly in these cases,” Aer Lingus outlines on its website.

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