decision to make redundant all of ‘Aer Lingus’ 1,200 cabin crew (270
permanently) and then rehire most on a lower wage and longer working
hours, has been met with fierce resistance from the 1,000 strong IMPACT
union at the airline. The
airline announced these plans for job cuts, after restructuring plans
were introduced due to 66.2 million Euros worth of losses in 2009. Job
cuts and restructuring are part of plans at Aer Lingus to save 97
million Euros by 2011, in order to save the airline from bankruptcy.
these plans have been rejected in a Ballot by IMPACT once, but have
recently decided to ballot again according to sources involved in the
negotiations with the Labour Relations Commission.
cabin crew members have also been subject to bullying by airline
management after the decision was made to only allow the statutory
minimum redundancy payment of 2 weeks pay per year of service for
workers in opposition. This is in contrast to the six weeks per year of
service for the 440 ‘well behaved’ workers at other unions who accepted
the voluntary redundancy payment.
for IMPACT also came on St. Patrick’s day across the Atlantic, where
‘United Airlines’ staff in Washington and Chicago held protests against
the joint United Airlines/Aer Lingus plans to use outsourced labour on
a new route from Washington to Madrid. We will
no doubt see more of this in Britain where ‘British Airways will almost
certainly prepare to draft in under trained scab workers in a shameful
attempt to break the ‘UNITE’ union in their upcoming industrial action,
whilst sacrificing public safety.
is also at risk onboard Aer Lingus flights in the coming months as cuts
in positions such as cabin manager and lower wages coupled with
exhausting working hours for crew will all sacrifice public safety.
What is more important in this instance: passenger safety and secure
jobs for all, or shareholder profit? What is plainly more beneficial to
customers and to workers now is to fully nationalise the company under
workers and state control to secure jobs, safety, financial stability
and steady ticket prices at the airline.
The resistance of airline staff worldwide now in Ireland, Britain, Germany and America is
very clear: not one job loss, not one redundancy. The period of new
realism that partly fuelled the ‘Celtic Tiger’ economy is over now, the
workers are fighting back.
This article was first posted on the Fightback site of the Marxists in Ireland