Pilots reject Aer Lingus claim for ‘meaningful’ talks ahead of strike

Pilots reject Aer Lingus claim for ‘meaningful’ talks ahead of strike

The president of the Irish Air Line Pilots’ Association (IALPA) has said claims by Aer Lingus that it had “repeatedly sought” to engage with the union were not accurate.

Mark Tighe said the union met airline representatives Monday and “we’ve asked repeatedly since then to meet them, most recently the 21st and yesterday the 22nd,” he said.

Speaking to the Irish Broadcaster RTÉ he added:

“The impasse clearly sits with Aer Lingus.”

Aer Lingus has said it has written to pilots to request meaningful direct discussions to seek a resolution to the ongoing dispute over pay.

At least 244 Aer Lingus flights are now cancelled next week due to pilots’ industrial action, the airline confirmed on Saturday.

RTÉ reported that the airline said it has “repeatedly sought to engage directly with Irish Airline Pilots Association (IALPA) on ways to increase pilot pay beyond the 12.25% increase agreed with all other collectively bargained groups, based upon reaching agreement on improvements in productivity and flexibility.

It said IALPA has refused to enter talks with the airline, and it had ended the most recent direct discussions with Aer Lingus on Monday 17 June.

Earlier this week the IALPA served notice of an indefinite work-to-rule from Wednesday 26 June as part of an ongoing pay dispute.

On Friday IALPA members at Aer Lingus said they now plan to strike on Saturday 29 June from 05:00-13:00 BST.

Aer Lingus said 120 flights have been cancelled on 29 June due to the strike action, impacting 15,000 passengers.

RTÉ reported that the number of cancelled flights could increase under the pilots’ indefinite work-to-rule.

Overall, the industrial action will affect more than 40,000 passengers due to fly with the airline from 26 June and 2 July.

Aer Lingus said the cancellations would enable it to “protect as many services as possible for as many of our customers as possible”.

However, regional services to and from Belfast and Great Britain during this period “will not be affected by any industrial relations action and will operate as scheduled,” the airline said.

On Friday, Aer Lingus said in a statement that it is “appalled that IALPA would further escalate this industrial action, following the insidious action previously announced.”

It said the strike is “clearly designed to inflict maximum damage on passengers’ travel plans”.

Aer Lingus said it will work to minimise disruption to passengers.

On Thursday the airline announced that it would have to cancel between 10% and 20% of flights over the first five days of the action.

Flights cancelled

The flights that have been cancelled are: short-haul Dublin to London Heathrow; Paris; Amsterdam; Lyons; Berlin; Birmingham; Brussels; Dusseldorf; Rome; Frankfurt; Geneva; Hamburg; Manchester; Munich; Vienna; as well as short-haul Cork to London Heathrow and long-haul Dublin to JFK.

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