Sinn Fein re-iterate demand for equal pay across the island of Ireland
South Belfast Sinn Féin MLA Alex Maskey has written to An t-Áire Ian Paisley and An tÁire Martin McGuinness as well as An Taoiseach Bertie Ahern and Dermot Mannion (Chief Executive, Aer Lingus), to highlight his concerns that Aer Lingus staff to be based in Belfast will be employed under less advantageous terms and conditions than their counterparts in the 26 Counties. The South Belfast MLA has urged all concerned to work to ensure that this does not become the case.
The South Belfast MLA said,
"The announcement that Aer Lingus will be establishing a base in Belfast was welcomed by Sinn Féin. Undoubtedly, this decision can make a major and really positive contribution to the development of an All-Ireland economy.
"However, I am extremely concerned by the decision to employ staff to be based in Belfast under different, and it seems, disadvantageous terms and conditions.
"Jennifer McCann MLA, and myself, have discussed this matter with Aer Lingus staff representatives and other Party colleagues. I believe that it would be most unfortunate if such a positive development as the location of an Aer Lingus base at Belfast International could be marred by the companies decision to treat the workforce less favourably".
"It is my understanding that discussions are ongoing between Aer Lingus management and staff representatives on the issue of workers' terms and conditions. I would urge that the current proposals, which would see Belfast staff employed on less favourable terms, are reconsidered and that all staff are treated fairly and equally on the basis of an All-Ireland economy. Clearly, it would be a great shame if what has been a "good news" story is to become a negative by this most unfortunate dispute." CRÍOCH