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Leo Varadkar (File photo) Sam Boal/Photocall Ireland

Varadkar: I am pretty sick of Aer Lingus workers threatening to go on strike

Workers at Aer Lingus have said that strike action is “very likely” amid a row over “onerous” working hours placed on cabin crews.

Updated 11.50am 

TRANSPORT MINISTER LEO Varadkar has said that people are “pretty sick” of workers at Aer Lingus threatening to go on strike as one union representing cabin crews said action is “very likely” this summer.

Impact General Secretary Michael Landers has said his union “has been left with no other way” to negotiate with the airline aside from balloting for strike action.

The row centres around “onerous” working hours placed on cabin crews, who can work shifts of up to 16 hours.

Varadkar said it seems to be the case that “someone in Aer Lingus” threatens strike action every three months yet never follows through, saying that people are “pretty sick” of this.

“I really think we should have an end to this old-fashioned trade union activity of threatening strikes over problems. Issues over rosters, which is what this is about, should be dealt with by negotiation and not megaphone diplomacy.

“We have a Labour Relations Commission and we have a Labour Court which are set up by the State to hear both sides of the story and that’s where they should be telling their story rather than this nonsense of making strike threats that never happen.

“All it does is annoy people and disrupt their holidays and I think people are sick of it and certainly I am.”

Earlier, Landers told Newstalk Breakfast that cabin crew want a three-day weekend, the same as what pilots are entitled to.

He added that previous agreements reached at the Labour Court have not been adhered to by the airline. Landers conceded that repeated strike action is damaging the airline’s reputation.

The Executive Council of Siptu earlier this year voted to ‘reiterate total and complete support’ for union members at Aer Lingus and the Dublin Airport Authority (DAA).

They criticised Aer Lingus, Ryanair, and the DAA for taking legal action to prevent strike action earlier this year.

- additional reporting from Hugh O’Connell

Read: SIPTU bosses vote to support future industrial action at Dublin airport >

More: Aer Lingus sees 12 per cent traffic boost in April >

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