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Dublin Airport facing potential strikes as unions to ballot members over outsourcing plans

The potential industrial action includes a full withdrawal of labour.

Image: Alamy Stock Photo

TWO TRADE UNIONS representing craft workers at Dublin Airport have announced plans to ballot for industrial action over DAA plans to outsource maintenance jobs.

The Unite and Connect unions said the potential industrial action will include a full withdrawal of labour.

The State company announced last month that it would outsource maintenance work in Ireland’s busiest airport, due to, what it labelled, a lack of “meaningful progress” on work practice changes.

The changes proposed by the DAA included craft workers working across both of the airport’s terminals, technology enablement and roster alterations.

It said it has engaged extensively with the unions on a new operating model since June 2019, without securing an agreement. 

Unite Regional Officer Willie Quigley said DAA management had “failed to be upfront” with its members and had done a “complete u-turn” by failing to implement Labour Court recommendations including voluntary severance.

“The company is now in contravention of a recommendation which they originally accepted,” Quigley said.

Given the company’s behaviour and their decision to ignore a Labour Court recommendation, our members yesterday mandated Unite to ballot for industrial action up to and including a full withdrawal of labour. 

Connect regional secretary, Sean Heading, said: “The DAA threat results from a dispute between management and our members concerning an attempt to force them to adopt work-practice changes without agreement.

To threaten workers with an end to their employment unless they accept changes is not a proper manner in which to conduct industrial relations.

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The DAA has cited financial losses due to the Covid-19 pandemic as the reason for the outsourcing plans. The company said it recorded a €284 million loss last year. 

A DAA spokesman said the company would study the contents of the correspondence received from the unions and revert with a considered response.

“The changes sought under the New Ways Of Working proposals were very simple – use basic technology like company email or electronic tablets to manage job orders, work across the campus, roster changes, and clean as you go. The degree of change required, varied across the different areas of the business, with some seeing considerably more change than others,” the spokesperson said.

“The change requested from the workers in the asset management division was no different and, in many areas, considerably less than that sought from other colleagues across our business. In no way were we changing what people earned in their terms and conditions.”

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Céimin Burke

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