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The IALPA is seeking a pay increase of 23.8% over three years. Alamy Stock Photo
Industrial Action

Aer Lingus pilots vote on possible strike action due to pay dispute

The ballot follows pilots rejecting a Labour Court recommendation that would have increased pay by 9.25%.

LAST UPDATE | 6 Jun

PILOTS IN AER Lingus who are members of the Irish Air Lines Pilots’ Association (IALPA) have begun voting on industrial action due to a pay dispute.

The ballot, which opened yesterday afternoon and will close at 5pm on 12 June, follows pilots rejecting a Labour Court recommendation that would have increased pay by 9.25%.

However, Aer Lingus has said that the ballot is “entirely unnecessary”. 

The IALPA is 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.”

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.

The IALPA has recommended that members vote in favour of industrial action, up to and including strike action.

IALPA president Captain Mark Tighe said that pay offers given to pilots “do not reflect the enormous profitability of Aer Lingus”.

Tighe added that “pilots made huge sacrifices in their pay and working conditions during the pandemic to save the company” but that “management failed to reverse many of these measures, which include lower pay scales for new entrants”.

He also remarked that all pilots in Aer Lingus must receive “equal pay for equal work” and said that new pilots in Aer Lingus “earn up to 10% less pay than pilots who were employed prior to the pandemic”.

“Any new pay deal needs to account for the loss of real earnings due to inflation and to bring Aer Lingus pilots’ pay up to the rates of competitor airlines,” said Tighe.

He also remarked 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.

In a statement to The Journal, an Aer Lingus spokesperson said the company is “surprised” that the IALPA “commenced this ballot before they met directly with the airline”.

The spokesperson said a meeting was being arranged but had not yet taken place. 

The spokesperson also remarked that commencing a ballot is “disruptive to the airline’s customers and other employees” and that the IALPA has “rejected the outcomes of multiple independent processes which have sought to resolve the issue”. 

It was further remarked by the spokesperson that Aer Lingus pilots are “already very well paid”, that the IALPA had sought an “effective increase in pay of 27%”, and that the ballot “risks jobs in the airline into the future”. 

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