Belfast Telegraph

Aer Lingus flights hit by dispute

Aer Lingus has grounded flights to several popular European destinations over a deepening row with cabin crew.

Dozens of workers have been suspended in the fall-out as at least ten services between Dublin and London Heathrow, Amsterdam, Madrid, Frankfurt and Malaga on Wednesday are cancelled.

A number of transatlantic flights were either pulled or delayed since the start of the week while hired aircraft were brought in for other services as employees refuse to work under a new roster system.

Impact trade union said 86 of its members have been taken off duties at the airline with 32 of those removed from the payroll or effectively suspended from their jobs.

A spokesman said staff were being individually summoned to meetings with management and then removed from their roles when they refuse to sign up to new working arrangements.

Disruption is expected to get worse in the coming days if the number of workers reprimanded continues to mount. A union spokesman claimed staff were sticking to existing rosters, as they had been for some time, and blamed management for "upping the ante".

"We are not doing anything we haven't been doing for weeks," he said. "Aer Lingus is trying to impose changes that are not necessary."

But the airline hit out at cabin crew for refusing to operate the flights under the new roster system.

"The sole responsibility for these cancellations, and the corresponding disruption to customers travel plans, lies with Impact trade union members who continue to take industrial action despite 15 months of negotiation, agreement, clarification, conciliation and binding arbitration," an Aer Lingus spokeswoman said.

The airline had said around 50 workers refused to co-operate with the new rosters while 20 were "removed from their duties and the Aer Lingus payroll" after individual meetings on Tuesday morning.

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