Unions say an agreement with Irish flag carrier Aer Lingus that could save cabin crew and other workers from mass redundancy is not yet a done deal despite earlier reports that the two sides had come to agreement on the proposals. Aer Lingus had been looking to slash hundreds of jobs because of the Corona crisis but the proposed deal would save jobs in favour of reduced pay and permanent changes to terms and conditions.
A spokesperson for the Fórsa union said its cabin crew committee was still considering the proposals, which include changes to work practices and a ban on union-led pay claims until at least 2022. Calling reports of a done deal “premature”, a union spokesperson said there was “no question of any agreement before the proposals were fully considered and discussed by elected cabin crew representatives.”
Aer Lingus had originally planned to axe 900 jobs out of a workforce of around 4,500 people in response to the massive and continued slump in demand caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. Many airlines and analysts believe it could take 2 – 3 years for the industry to reach pre-Corona levels of demand again.
The new proposals involve cutting the working hours of all employees in order to save jobs and costs. In most cases, employees will be paid for the hours they work but if available work drops below 50 per cent of their normal salary, the airline will make up the shortfall.
This shortfall would be considered an overpayment and would be reclaimed by the airline once the recovery is in full swing.
Pay claims won’t be considered until at least February 2022, while efficiency improvements and other changes to terms and conditions would be permanent and not up for negotiation.
In one section, the proposals suggest that collective issues would require staff to continue working “under protest” but that the airline would engage with unions to reach a resolution. Should a second wave of the COVID-18 pandemic strike, the airline says it reserves the right to reconsider its proposals on job cuts.
The Fórsa union did not say how long it might take for its work groups to consider the proposals and reach a decision.
Mateusz Maszczynski honed his skills as an international flight attendant at the most prominent airline in the Middle East and has been flying throughout the COVID-19 pandemic for a well-known European airline. Matt is passionate about the aviation industry and has become an expert in passenger experience and human-centric stories. Always keeping an ear close to the ground, Matt's industry insights, analysis and news coverage is frequently relied upon by some of the biggest names in journalism.