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Aer Lingus has accepted the Labour Court recommendation of a 17.75% pay increase for pilots. RollingNews.ie
Industrial Action

No decision after meeting by IALPA on 17.75% pay rise after Aer Lingus backs Labour Court

The union is waiting for its understanding of the recommendations to be confirmed by the Labour Court.

LAST UPDATE | 9 Jul

NO DECISION HAS yet been made by the Irish Airline Pilots’ Association (IAPLA) is to on a Labour Court recommendation aimed at ending its lengthy pay dispute with Aer Lingus. 

Pilots who are members of the union have been working-to-rule since 26 June after negotiations over a pay increase with the airline reached an impasse. The industrial action has resulted in the cancellation of over 500 Aer Lingus flights.  

The Labour Court intervened once IALPA threatened further industrial action would be taken last week. Yesterday, it recommended a 17.75% pay increase for pilots.

IALPA met today to discuss whether to recommend accepting or rejecting the Labour Court proposal.

No decision was made as a result of the meeting as the union is waiting on a reply from the Labour Court to the letter it sent, as it is waiting to receive confirmation on its understanding of the recommendations laid out in yesterday’s decision, it is understood.

When a decision is made by the executive members of the union, the choice will be put to its members through an electronic ballot.

Once the Labour Court has replied to the union’s letter, the executive members will meet again to establish its position on the decision.

After a review of the decision, Aer Lingus decided to accept the recommendation yesterday afternoon

The company will also consider “the longer-term implications of implementing the recommendation and of this dispute which has been enormously damaging both financially and reputationally”.

Previously, Aer Lingus said any increase over 12.25% should also include an agreement on increased productivity and flexibility in return – something the company says has been agreed with other workers at the airline.

The President of IAPLA, Captain Mark Tighe, said yesterday that an electronic ballot will provide pilots with an opportunity to carefully consider the terms of the recommendation.

“Pilots will have the opportunity to consider its terms and to carefully consider our next steps. This has been an exceptionally complex dispute, reflected in the Court’s decision last week to utilise its legislative powers to investigate the matters in dispute,” he said.

It is understood the executive board of IALPA will meet one-on-one with its members over the coming days, after the Labour Court’s reply.

‘Positive momentum’

Speaking on RTÉ’s Morning Ireland this morning, Minister of State for Enterprise, Trade and Employment Peter Burke said “cool heads” are needed in order to resolve the dispute quickly.

“We have to move on to the next chapter as an island economy again and for so many vulnerable sectors that really require connectivity to be at a premium over the summer months ahead, we really need to ensure that this dispute is resolved,” he said.

Speaking on his way into Cabinet, Taoiseach Simon Harris said he hoped the offer was a signal of “positive momentum”.

“It looks to me like everybody really worked intensively on this, and I really do welcome that,” he said.

“I’ve said from the start, the only way you [resolve] industrial relations is through engagement and through compromise. [We] certainly have the engagement, and it looks to me like we now have compromise.

“I don’t think it would be helpful for me to tell any side what to do. I fully respect the idea that unions obviously have to engage with their own members, but I really do hope this is positive momentum.”

IALPA had been seeking a pay increase of 24%, which they said equates to inflation since the last pay rise in 2019.

However, the union said it would be willing to consider a lower pay increase during a meeting with the airline at a hotel last week.

Members of IALPA rejected a previous Labour Court recommendation of 9.25%, arguing that Aer Lingus pilots should receive an increase of an almost 24% in their pay.

But it accused Aer Lingus of not making a similar compromise to move from its offer of 12.25%, without requests for pilots to improve productivity.

An interim Labour Court recommendation for pay increases of 9.25% was rejected by IALPA members last month, who then decided to pursue industrial action.

Includes reporting by Muiris O’Cearbhaill. Additional reporting from Press Association.

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