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Aer Lingus pilots conclude voting in re-run of ballot on industrial action

In-person voting was open in two polling stations – one in Dublin and one in Cork – from Friday until this morning and results are expected at 4pm.


AER LINGUS PILOTS have cast their paper ballots on whether to take industrial action, up to an including strike action, over a pay dispute.

Members of the Irish Airline Pilots’ Association (IALPA) had already voted overwhelmingly in favour last week of taking industrial action, securing 98% support.

However, Aer Lingus questioned the legitimacy of the vote, which was conducted electronically.

In-person voting was open in two polling stations – one in Dublin and one in Cork – from Friday until 11am this morning.

It’s expected that a result will be known at around 4pm but travel commentator Eoghan Corry said it is a “foregone conclusion”. 

Speaking on Newstalk’s Breakfast Briefing, Corry said he expects similar figures of above 90% to vote in favour of industrial action.

He added that Aer Lingus would face many issues around compensating passengers should strike action ensue. 

Aer Lingus pilots who are members of the union are seeking a pay rise of 23.8% over three years, which would be similar to what British Airlines – a sister airline of Aer Lingus – awarded pilots in 2019.

Members have rejected a Labour Court recommendation that they should receive a pay increase agreement of 9.25% in the near term.

The IALPA said the 23.8% increase it is seeking is “clearly reasonable and affordable for a profitable company such as Aer Lingus.”

It noted that in 2023, Aer Lingus had a full year operating profit of €225 million.

This was a 400% increase on 2022, when a full year operating profit of €45 million was recorded.

However, a spokesperson for Aer Lingus previously told The Journal that its pilots were “already very well paid” and that the ballot “risks jobs into the future”.

IALPA President Captain Mark Tighe said the result of the ballot taken last week showed that Aer Lingus pilots are “determined to secure a fair and reasonable pay rise after years of inflation”.

“Pilots have not had a pay increase since 2019 and made enormous sacrifices to save Aer Lingus during the pandemic,” Captain Tighe said.

“Now that the company is making bumper profits, it is only fair that our pay keeps up with inflation, and that we have the same purchasing power today as we did in 2019.”

Tighe said that the last time Aer Lingus pilots received a pay increase was in July 2019, and pointed to CSO data showing that Irish workers on average have received hourly pay increases of 24% since that time.

Aer Lingus meanwhile noted the ballot outcome last week but said that “any decision by IALPA to now serve notice of industrial action would be entirely unnecessary and regrettable and would result in significant disruption to the airline’s customers and to other employees”.

“Notwithstanding the ballot outcome, at this time direct discussions with IALPA are ongoing. Aer Lingus is also willing to request the support of the Workplace Relations Commission in order to further explore solutions,” the airline said.

-With additional reporting from Diarmuid Pepper

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