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IALPA pilots march on strike at Dublin Airport on Saturday. Leah Farrell/Rolling News

'We're here for our careers, we will not back down', says IALPA President

He disagreed with claims that the pilots had already lost and were simply trying to save face.


THE PRESIDENT OF the Irish Airlines Pilot’s Association (IALPA) has said that increased industrial action is not off the table if an agreement over a proposed pay increase is not reached with Aer Lingus.

Speaking on The Anton Savage Show on Newstalk, Mark Tighe, President of the IALPA said that the pilots were in a very strong position, and would not be backing down.

“We are here as pilots, we’re here for our careers, for 30 or 40 years. The executive team will come and go, our current chief executive is something like the 16th or 17th, but we’re here for the duration.”

“We will not back down,” he said.

Responding to an article in today’s Sunday Independent, which claimed the pilots had already lost and were currently trying to save face, he said that yesterday’s strike action demonstrated their strong position.

“There’s a lot more articles out there, but I will say that unnamed source journalism is not that credible, and neither are sources that won’t attach their names to a statement.”

“The strike is not complete, we have not shot our shot. We’ve given the labour court the opportunity to apply its experience to the situation, but ultimately if the company doesn’t cede to what is a reasonable cumulative claim from pilots, we will continue fighting,” he said.

Members of IALPA are seeking a pay increase of 23.8% over three years, which it says is “clearly reasonable and affordable for a profitable company such as Aer Lingus”.

Tighe also pointed out that the pay claim was in line with other airlines in International Airlines Group (IAG), such as British Airways.

In a day-long strike action yesterday, IALPA members marched in Dublin airport, with solidarity pickets in Boston, Orlando, and Seattle.

Aer Lingus has cancelled 122 flights next week as a result of the strikes.

Taoiseach Simon Harris, said that that both sides “need to dig deep” to find a solution to the impasse.

“There is no public support for this action, none. I think that Irish people are decent and follow common sense, they believe that instead of bringing the planes out of the sky and not allowing people go on their summer holidays, they should lock themselves in a room and not leave the room until they sort this out,” he said.

However, he also said that the fact there is such an overwhelming rejection of offers put forward by Aer Lingus is also evidence of a poor working relationship and should be cause for concern.

MEP for Midlands North-West Ciarán Mullooly said that while the prospect of seeing further cancellations was “petrifying”, the issue will be resolved.

“In industrial relations this happens all the time. We have a starting point, a middle point, and eventually its going to be solved,” he said.

“However if I were in the captain’s situation, I would be highlighting the lack of engagement by Aer Lingus up to this point.

“How did we get to this situation? That’s the key issue for me. Is there a failure by Aer Lingus management to deal with this issue before it came to this point.”

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