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Mark Stedman/Photocall Ireland

DAA and Ryanair launch court action to stop strike at Irish airports

Dublin Airport Authority says the strike planned for next week is unlawful.

Updated 4.23pm

DUBLIN AIRPORT AUTHORITY has gone to court to seek an injunction against SIPTU to stop the union from going ahead with a strike at Dublin and Cork airports next week.

Ryanair has also announced this afternoon that it intends to take the same step.

“Ryanair will not allow over 13,000 of its customers to be blackmailed by greedy SIPTU unions,” a statement from the company said, “particularly in the case of Aer Lingus where there is a defined contribution pension scheme and these staff have already received over €600m in pay-offs, pension top ups and free shares over the past 8 years.

In a statement, DAA said it had “no choice but to take this step”, saying the industrial action is unlawful. It also claimed that SIPTU has failed to agree to two separate communications asking for the strike to be called off.

DAA says the industrial action – which will see strikes going ahead at the airports on Friday 14 March as the St Patrick’s bank holiday weekend begins – is contrary to the provisions of the Industrial Relations Act.

The High Court has granted DAA and Ryanair leave to seek an injunction against SIPTU.

In a statement, DAA said SIPTU only balloted a portion of its membership on the proposed work stoppage, which is also contrary to existing agreements between the company and the trade union.

“DAA intends to pursue all avenues at its disposal to avert this action by SIPTU and to keep its airports fully operational,” a spokesperson said.

Ryanair has called on government to explain contingency plans that would be put in place to prevent “Ireland’s vital airports being closed” if legal action is unsuccessful.

Employees and management have been at loggerheads over a long-running dispute over a €700 million deficit in the workers’ pension fund.

The Department of Transport has set up a four-person expert panel earlier this week to see if a resolution of the issue can be secured.

SIPTU announced the action just over one week ago, saying the companies have refused to engage in meaningful talks or present fair proposals to solve the problem.

Originally published 11.59am. Additional reporting by Nicky Ryan.

Read: Union agrees to co-operate with Aer Lingus pensions investigation >

Read: Aer Lingus rebooks customers to avoid air strike chaos on St Patrick’s weekend >

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