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Aer Lingus must negotiate with workers -- Crowe

13 February, 2007

Sinn Féin Transport spokesperson Seán Crowe TD has expressed his party's support for Aer Lingus SIPTU members who overwhelmingly voted for industrial action. He laid the blame for the current situation firmly at the door of the Government which has now 'washed it's hands of the former national airline through privatisation' and Aer Lingus management who have shown 'contempt for workers with their unilateral arrogance in refusing to negotiate'.

The Dublin South-West TD said, "While certain efforts have been made to demonise Aer Lingus workers through the media, their recent ballot in support of industrial action is, without question, a last resort for those workers. SIPTU has already attempted to resolve this dispute through the Labour Relations Commission and the National Implementation Body, but their efforts have proved fruitless, due to Aer Lingus management's refusal to negotiate.

"This dispute has arisen due to management's threats to introduce new staff contracts to reduce its cost base. Such measures include reducing overtime payments, reducing holiday leave and cutting days in lieu. There were no negotiations with union representatives regarding these changes which are a prime example of management attempting to ride roughshod over workers.

"It is interesting that while management unilaterally plan to push ahead with cost reduction measures which will reduce the take home pay of ordinary workers, they have not stated that they will attempt to sacrifice one cent of their generous salaries and bonuses.

"While I support industrial action by SIPTU, I would urge Aer Lingus management to step back from the brink and negotiate with trade union representatives instead of stubbornly pressing ahead with plans which will inevitably result in airport chaos. Any change in work practices should have been agreed by both unions and the management instead of the latter taking this threatening and arrogant approach."


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