Belfast Telegraph

Aer Lingus to shed staff in cost cuts

Aer Lingus is to lay off 670 staff as it aims to save about €97m in a radical restructuring plan, the airline confirmed yesterday.

Cabin crew, who rejected a cost-saving proposal, face 230 compulsory redundancies while four unions of pilots, maintenance, craft and administration staff will see 440 voluntary job cuts.

Enda Corneille, the airline’s director of corporate affairs, said its Belfast operations would not be affected by the lay-offs.

Aer Lingus chief executive Christoph Mueller said he has formally given the Irish Government 30 days notice of the compulsory redundancies as required by law.

He revealed there would also be new working conditions and new salary levels.

The announcements followed an emergency general meeting of the airline’s board after a trading statement reported an operating loss of €81m for last year.

The airline boss confirmed talks with Impact trade union, which represents the majority of cabin crew, would begin again over the cuts but vowed there would be no “sweetheart deal”.

“One thing is for sure, there will be no sweetheart deal with cabin, I believe that is my understanding of fairness,” said Mr Mueller.

“Someone who votes no to a proposition should not get an easier way out than the ones who have voted in favour.

“Number two, retaliation is not our business, it will have no element of the nature.

“And number three, there will be no re-balloting.”

The airline boss revealed the coming weeks would be tough for cabin crew — of whom there is the equivalent of around 1,000 full-time workers based in Dublin, Cork and Shannon.

Impact trade union said the airline's announcement was not surprising, as the threat of compulsory redundancies was made repeatedly during the negotiation process and while the branch balloted on the cost saving proposals.

Meanwhile, Aer Lingus rival Ryanair is finalising talks with two mainland European airports over the creation of 300 jobs after a controversial bid to site them in Ireland failed.

Belfast Telegraph

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