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Aer Lingus chief executive Christoph Mueller has said failure to resolve a pilots' dispute could see all flights cancelled by Tuesday. Julien Behal/PA Wire
Aer Lingus

Aer Lingus to attend talks aimed at averting new strikes

Talks at the Labour Relations Commission will try to avoid a rostering dispute that could see flights cancelled next week.

AER LINGUS PILOTS will attend talks on Thursday with the airline at the Labour Relations Commission, in a bid to end a dispute that could see industrial action begin next Tuesday.

The talks with the pilots, represented by the Irish Airline Pilots’ Association, are aimed at resolving a rostering dispute – the second time that the airline’s proposals for new rosters have led to industrial action. It had been reported that the talks were going to go ahead today, but tomorrow has been fully confirmed as the starting point.

The proposed disruption by the pilots – which would see them deliberately show up an hour late for work – has the potential to affect the flight plans of 30,000 passengers a day, the Irish Times reports.

RTÉ adds that the proposals include plans to withdraw current flexibility arrangements where they work on free days if required, even if they are not officially rostered for those hours.

Aer Lingus CEO Christoph Mueller has acknowledged that the strike would force the airline into a “full cancellation” of all scheduled services, with the pilots’ delayed schedules being incompatible to those of cabin crew and other staff.

The same re-rostering proposals resulted in a protracted dispute with the airline’s cabin crew in January, with the result that many staff were temporarily removed from the airline’s payroll as flights were disrupted.

Although the dispute with cabin crew – who are represented by IMPACT – was ultimately resolved through LRC intervention in February, pilots had not been balloted on the new rosters at the time.

Author’s note: This piece previously stated, incorrectly, that the talks discussed were due to begin today and not tomorrow. This was not the case and we are happy to correct this error.

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