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Sinn Féin backs workers standing up to Aer Lingus management

23 January, 2007

Speaking today after reports of ultimatums being delivered to Aer Lingus workers by the airline’s management, Sinn Féin Transport spokesperson Seán Crowe called it ‘a worrying but inevitable development resulting from the Government’s decision to sell off our former national airline in October of last year’.


The Dublin South West TD said: “This latest move by Aer Lingus Chief Executive Dermot Mannion is an extremely worrying development and validates concerns I raised in the past. These so-called changes in work practices are a direct product of the company’s privatisation and its desire to maximise profit at anyone’s expense.


“I share the concerns of staff about the direction that Aer Lingus is going. There is a grave danger, with potentially disastrous repercussions for its workforce, if the company continues to attempt to emulate Ryanair’s disdainful approach to industrial relations.


“This letter stating that changes must be introduced in the next couple of months, for both existing and new staff, is a unilateral attempt to erode worker’s rights without any satisfactory consultation with trade union representatives. New contract staff would reportedly receive less overtime pay and would be entitled to fewer holidays. 


“These new developments should be taken in the context of Aer Lingus refusing to drop its fuel surcharges even though the price of oil has gone down significantly and it’s recent announcement to introduce new baggage charges. Are these decisions serving Aer Lingus customers?


“I consistently raised these concerns with Minister Martin Cullen in the Dáil before and after last October’s flotation of the airline, but my arguments and advice fell on deaf ears. Sinn Féin opposed the privatisation all along, pointed to the fact that our former national airline was profitable, an asset to the state and should remain in the hands of the Irish people.


“Sinn Féin will continue to support these workers in their upcoming battle to secure adequate pay and working conditions, and to prevent the erosion of their entitlements by Dermot Mannion and the large shareholders, one of which the Government remains. The advent of privatisation has seemingly led to the partnership approach between management and unions being torn up, being replaced by unpopular management unilateralism.”



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