Belfast Telegraph

Thomas Cook Airlines cabin crew balloted over rest breaks changes

More than 1,000 Thomas Cook Airlines cabin crew are being balloted for industrial action in a dispute over health and safety concerns.

Unite said changes to rest breaks would see cabin crew allowed a 20-minute break during an 11 hour 59 minute duty period.

Before the changes, cabin crew were entitled to a 20-minute break every six hours, said Unite.

Unite national officer Oliver Richardson said: "Our members are deeply concerned about the impact these changes to rest breaks are having on inflight safety.

"Fatigue is a major contributory factor to accidents and slower response times when there is an incident."

A Thomas Cook spokesman said: "We would like to reassure our customers that nothing matters more to us than safety.

"It's regrettable the union has chosen this path because the crew rest procedure, which includes monitoring all crew rest on all flights, was introduced with the agreement of the union.

"It also meets the regulations of industry experts the Civil Aviation Authority and does not compromise on safety.

"We have offered to meet union representatives and the message we hear directly from our crew is that they're looking forward to a great summer of flying customers on holiday."