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Aer Lingus lays off 129 Shannon staff members for three months without pay

The airline said the layoffs may be subject to further extension or change.

Image: PA

AER LINGUS HAS confirmed that it will be temporarily laying off 129 staff members at Shannon Airport without pay for three months. 

The airline said it was no longer sustainable to continue rostering inflight service and ground operations given no flights have operated to or from the airport since 5 April last. 

Following a review of its Shannon operation, Aer Lingus decided to place the 129 staff members on temporary unpaid lay-off from 8 March until 7 June.

“This may also be subject to further extension or change based on work requirements in Shannon,” an Aer Lingus spokesperson added. 

Aer Lingus recorded an operating loss of €361 million in 2020, which it says represents “the largest ever loss in the airline’s history and demonstrates the profound impact of Covid19″.

Fórsa trade union said the lay-offs were “devastating” for both the staff and the region.

“The Covid crisis has lasted far longer than anyone had envisaged, and this creates additional challenges to maintain the solutions we had previously put in place with the employer,” a spokesperson for the union said. 

“Today’s developments illustrate that Fórsa’s warnings on the future of aviation need to be taken seriously and acted upon. The sector plays a crucial role in both our national and regional economies.”

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Fórsa is calling for enhanced industry-specific wage supports, easier access to mortgage payment breaks, and enhanced Government supports to the industry including a State-led stakeholder engagement to develop a survival plan for the sector.

Senator Timmy Dooley said today’s announcement was “another body blow” to the Mid-West aviation and tourism sector, accusing Aer Lingus of taking a “very short-sighted approach”. 

“It is really disappointing that Aer Lingus are treating their loyal staff in such a manner – they have remained loyal to the brand over the years and it’s a foolhardy move to force them onto social welfare for the next three months. Aer Lingus should think of the long-term damage to the brand by this action,” Dooley said.

“The aviation sector is facing unprecedented challenges due to the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic and the Government needs to do much more for the tourism and aviation sector.”

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Adam Daly

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