Belfast Telegraph

Saturday 25 October 2014

Aer Arran in talks with pilots

Aer Arran confirmed management and pilot representatives have begun discussions

Aer Arran pilots who are to strike over a pay row have begun talks with the company in a bid to solve the dispute.

In a brief statement, Aer Arran confirmed management and pilot representatives began discussions at 5pm today.

The negotiations are an attempt to prevent industrial action, due to begin next week, which is expected to cause travel chaos for thousands of air passengers.

Pilots voted with an overwhelming majority in favour of industrial action against the company.

Their union, the Irish Airline Pilots' Association (IALPA), confirmed 91% of members supported the action in a ballot on Monday.

At the time, Aer Arran, which operates regional services at Aer Lingus, described the move as "regrettable" during the busiest time of the travel season.

Around 100 pilots are involved in the strike threat.

They are calling for a reversal in cuts and some form of restoration after almost five years of frozen pay.

The pilots, who took a 10% pay cut in 2009, served Aer Arran strike notice last summer.

But they eventually withdrew their threat after the company agreed to enter a pay review process and take part in an independent pay tribunal.

IALPA said despite several days of tribunal hearings, members were still not satisfied with the company's position on introducing pay rises, claiming it has continued to kick the can further down the road.

Aer Arran, which carried 116,000 passengers last month, insisted it will review pilots' pay when the company returns to profitability - which could be next year.

It claimed that management and pilots reached agreement on a number of issues last year, including participation in the pay tribunal.

It said pilots and their advisers were given access to all commercial data of the company, including its restructuring and growth plans, but all subsequent proposals were rejected.

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