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Government abandoning Aer Lingus workers

7 October, 2008

Sinn Féin Workers Rights Spokesperson Arthur Morgan TD has today described the Aer Lingus plan to outsource a quarter of its workforce as totally unacceptable. The Deputy also slammed Taoiseach Brian Cowen for turning his back on Irish workers, "Brian Cowen's statement that Aer Lingus is a private company that must make its own commercial decisions is a politically weak and disingenuous reaction to the airlines cost cutting plans."

Speaking from Leinster House the Louth TD said:

"Aer Lingus management are facing challenging economic times and the company's losses of €22 million during the first six months of the year with further losses forecast must be addressed. However the company is not in a financial crisis. Despite the current global finance crisis fuel prices continue to fall. Management's proposal to shed a quarter of the company's workforce is simply not a proportionate response to the company's current financial situation.

"Aer Lingus staff and their representative unions have over the years worked with management during times of restructuring and cost cutting. It is also worth remembering that commitments were made by Aer Lingus management to workers during the privatisation of the airline that the jobs would not be outsourced.

"Aer Lingus employees now face a similar situation to the Irish Ferries workers in 2005, the outsourcing of their jobs to lower paid workers and in some instances workers from outside the state. This is not acceptable particularly from a company that the people of this state have a 25% shareholding in.

"We cannot underestimate the scope of what Aer Lingus management is proposing nor the precedent it sets for companies throughout the state. This is against the backdrop of government's refusal to introduce legislation that would guarantee workers equal pay for equal work.

"Aer Lingus is being hollowed out to the benefit of a small number of shareholders, but to the detriment of the Irish people. Undermining fundamental workers right, terms and conditions is not in the interest of the state as a whole. As a major shareholder of the company on behalf of the Irish people the government can and must step in." ENDS

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