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Cabin crew at Aer Lingus face temporary lay-offs after staff reject structural change proposals

The airline said there will no pay rises for cabin crew members until 2025 at the earliest.
Sep 16th 2021, 8:59 PM 35,523 50

Updated Sep 16th 2021, 9:29 PM

CABIN CREW AT Aer Lingus face “imminent” temporary lay-offs after staff rejected a ballot over structural change proposed by the airline. 

In a letter to staff today, the airline said there will be no pay rises for cabin crew members until 2025 at the earliest and said a number of temporary lay-offs would be necessary. 

The airline has said its voluntary severance programme will close “and no further severance offers will be made to individuals under the scheme”. 

Cabin crew had been told by trade union Forsa about potential reduncies if they did not vote in favour of a proposed structural change agreement. 

Aer Lingus also said today that it had identified a “surplus” of ‘Cabin Service Managers’ (CSMs) and that there is “an imminent” need to temporarily lay-off a numbers of CSMs which is likely to continue “well into 2022 and indeed increase in number”. 

It said that it had been expected cabin crew pay and hours would likely move to 80% before Christmas but the surplus means CSMs will not progress to 80% working arrangement in line with other crew grads “and will instead be retained at 60% of their underlying contracted hours and pay for the foreseeable future”. 

The airline said it is likely that lay-offs will also extend to other cabin crew grades starting next year and that an immediate review of employment terms and cabin crew conditions will be needed. 

“The Structural Change proposal clearly outlined the serious challenges facing the business and the changes to pay and work practices necessary to deal with the situation,” an Aer Lingus spokesperson said. 

“The process involved many months of engagement and consultation during which the damaging effects of the pandemic on the airline and its prolonged and ongoing impact were clearly communicated.

“Aer Lingus has now begun the process of communicating to Forsa and Cabin Crew the measures that the airline will now implement in order to deal with the challenges.”

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In a statement a spokesperson for Forsa said: “The result of the ballot is not a great surprise given that Aer Lingus cabin crew have been on massively reduced earnings and working time for 18 months, and that the package put forward by airline management solely consists of further erosions of their terms and conditions.

“The outcome underlines the widespread view among cabin crew that company management is not listening to their concerns at a time when they are struggling to pay mortgages, rent and other bills. 

“The Fórsa cabin crew branch is considering its next steps and continues to urge Aer Lingus management to work towards a recovery in the airline industry with – and not against – its staff.”

With reporting by Órla Ryan and Garreth MacNamee

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