Belfast Telegraph

Cabin crew back work-to-rule action

Aer Lingus cabin crew have overwhelmingly voted for industrial action in a row over changes to working arrangements.

Trade union Impact said the action was effectively work-to-rule and vowed flights in and out of Ireland would not be affected.

Cabin crew backed a controversial 97 million euro cost-cutting drive last March after initially rejecting it, but the union accused management of rolling ahead with revised work practices without the backing of staff.

Impact said cabin crew will work within existing contracts and not adhere to the changes introduced by the airline last month. It stressed the public would not be disrupted.

Impact official Christina Carney said: "Our objective is to protect staff not hurt the travelling public. There is no reason why flights into and out of Ireland should be affected by this dispute."

Impact said cabin crew are being forced to work revised contracts allowing for long shifts without breaks to meet a company target of 850 flying hours a year.

Members have voted 96% in favour of reverting to previous agreed working arrangements from August 25.

The union said it accepts the need for the 850 hours a year but said it had been in talks with company bosses via the Labour Relations Commission on how to achieve this.

Impact accused Aer Lingus last month of unilaterally deciding to impose the new contractual arrangements, leaving cabin crew working 60 hours over a seven-day period including long shifts without breaks.

Aer Lingus said that while it is at a loss to understand why the ballot was necessary, it welcomed the commitment to work to contracts and the agreement for 850 flying hours a year.

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