13 November 2008 Edition
Nuacht na nOibrithe BY STEPHANIE LORD
Crisis talks in Aer Lingus dispute
Efforts to avoid industrial action at Aer Lingus began at Government Buildings in Dublin at lunchtime on Wednesday.
Unions and management have been invited to the discussions by the National Implementation Body – the main troubleshooting mechanism under social partnership.
The move came after SIPTU served notice of industrial action at Aer Lingus in a dispute over the company’s plans to cut costs of €74m and outsource much of its employees’ jobs. The union has convened strike committees and unless the current talks are successful industrial action – due to begin on 24 November – may include an all-out strike.
Gerry McCormack, National Industrial Secretary of SIPTU said that the members had voted by an overwhelming 80 per cent majority to take action at the Dublin, Cork and Shannon airports, where the company plans to shed 1,245 jobs.
The airline also plans to use American crews on its transatlantic routes and has set a deadline of 15 December for staff to apply for voluntary severance or early retirement.
The trade union has previously tried to resolve the dispute through talks chaired by Kevin Foley in the Labour Relations Commission but Aer Lingus withdrew from the talks.
Gerry McCormack said: “It is our firm view that the actions of the company have brought about a completely avoidable situation.”
Sinn Féin calls for action over jobless breakdown
Sinn Féin Employment spokesperson Arthur Morgan TD has called on the Government to target job creation in unemployment black-spots after the Central Statistics Office published a geographical breakdown of live register figures which show areas like east Cork, west Waterford and Donegal continue to suffer job losses.
Deputy Morgan said:
“The Government cannot continue to sit on their hands in the face of rising unemployment. Even now, as the figures continue to rise, there is no evidence of any action or plan from the government to tackle unemployment.”
Deputy Morgan called on the Government to introduce a specific back-to-education scheme for construction sector workers under the age of 25 without Leaving Certificates as it is estimated that under-25s represent more than half of the total construction unemployment figure for this year.
Permanent TSB offers staff cash for career break
MORTGAGE lender Permanent TSB has offered its employees up to €20,000 to take a two-year career break and €35,000 for a three-year career break in a move to reduce costs at the bank.
Management believes this will appeal to younger staff who want to travel or pursue other interests and would present the bank with an opportunity to lower costs.
The proposals have been incorporated as part of the bank’s “flexible working environment policy” and was offered to staff at its head office and most branches except for one or two business areas.
The plan gives staff half of their annual salary in exchange for taking a career break but they must agree not to work at a rival bank during their break. The bank has claimed this is not a move towards redundancies and said employees returning from career breaks would be offered similar positions in the same “general geographic area”.