4 October 2007 Edition

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Aer Lingus workers' pay freeze - Doherty hits out

AER LINGUS management’s pay freeze on all staff until a cost-cutting plan has been implemented has been criticised by Sinn Féin Senator Pearse Doherty, who asked what sacrifices airline executives will make.
The management’s cost-cutting ‘Programme for Continuous Improvement’ aims to generate up to €20 million annually in labour cost savings, he said “but the Government thought nothing of spending this amount on consultants advising on the privatisation”.
While Aer Lingus workers are forced to accept a pay freeze, the Sinn Féin senator said, “it would be  interesting to find out how much Aer Lingus Chief Executive Dermot Mannion and the management ‘elite’ are paying themselves in bonuses”.
The Sinn Féin senator continued:
“The Fianna Fáil-led Government constantly preach about the benefits of partnership and bi-lateral agreements between employers and workers but are standing idly by as Aer Lingus management unilaterally halts wage increases awarded to its workers under the ‘Towards 2016’ social partnership agreement.”
Pearse Doherty said this move by management follows a string of debacles resulting from Fianna Fáil’s decision to sell off our national airline, Aer Lingus.
“Sinn Féin constantly opposed the privatisation and warned that it would have massive repercussions for workers’ wages and conditions and would lead to the abandonment of the island’s strategic national interest.”
The erosion of employee wages and conditions is an inevitability with privatisation where the management’s only loyalty is to the shareholders, Pearse said.
“This Aer Lingus privatisation has already resulted in disaster for the mid-West region with the cancellation of flights from Shannon-Heathrow and now we are witnessing further ultimatums being placed on the Aer Lingus workforce to make more sacrifices. Instead of Aer Lingus pushing down costs by reducing bonuses paid to its directors or pay-outs to shareholders, it has once again targeted the workforce to bear the brunt of its decisions.”

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