16 August 2007 Edition
Nuacht na nOibrithe
Pilots to strike over Aer Lingus Move
Aer Lingus pilots have served formal notice to the company of a strike due to take place on Tuesday and Wednesday of next week in a dispute over pay and conditions amidst its move from Shannon to Belfast.
All of the routes that are flown by the airline and 500 pilots are expected to take part in the work stoppage.
Last week, the airline announced its move to Belfast International Airport from Shannon which would result in 100 new jobs in Belfast but 40 resultant job losses in Shannon. However, the 100 new employees, including 30 pilots at Aer Lingus’ first base in the North would not be paid the same as their Southern counterparts, with a company spokesperson saying that the new employees would be paid “competitive local market rates”.
Micheal Landers of the trade union IMPACT, of which some of the pilots are members said: “We want to see the people who’ll be working for Aer Lingus in Belfast paid as much and enjoying the same conditions of service and the same access to pension schemes as people in Aer Lingus enjoy at the moment.”
Landers went on to explain why the pilots felt the strike was important: “I think the inevitable outcome would be that Aer Lingus would use the pilots at the new base to eventually drag down pay and terms and conditions throughout the rest of the company as well.”
The union plan to hold further work stoppages after next week. The airline’s chief executive Dermot Mannion has said that the company has already checked the legality of their proposed policy changes linked to the £100 million Belfast investment and stated that their plans are “appropriate.”
Labour Court rejects equal pay claims from clerical personnel
The Labour Court has this week rejected equal pay claims lodged by clerical personnel who act as civilian support staff to the Gardaí. Fourteen civilian staff had brought the case and are members of the Civil, Public and Services Union (CPSU).
The workers claimed that because they were carrying out the same duties as Gardaí who were filling administrative posts that they should be paid the same as those members of the Gardaí.
They initially won their case at the Equality Tribunal in 2005 and claimed that the 7,000 follow-on claims lodged by the CPSU with the Equality Tribunal could have cost the state €300 million in back pay. The CPSU brought the case to the Labour Court on gender grounds as they claimed the Garda members on administrative duties were men and most civilian administrators were women.
The Gardaí listed a number of grounds in defence of the CPSU claim that the pay distinction was based on gender including that some administration posts involved contact with Interpol and Europol who would not deal with civilian workers and also that some Gardaí were needed in administrative posts so that their work would not “grind to a halt” in the event of civilian staff going on strike as the Gardaí are barred from taking part in industrial action.
The Labour Court, chaired by Kevin Duffy accepted these arguments and the ruling has now cleared the way for an accelerated recruitment to the Gardaí of up to 600 civilian support working.