Aer Lingus meets unions over cost-cutting plans

The chief executive of struggling Aer Lingus is to meet unions this afternoon to outline a cost-cutting plan.
Dermot Mannion is expected to propose cutting some 1,500 ground jobs in Dublin, Cork and Shannon in order to trim huge losses at the Irish national carrier. It is also believed to be hiring crew from North America to staff transatlantic flights. Other measures include a new deal on passenger charges at Shannon during the winter season.

Representatives from Siptu, the largest trade union within Aer Lingus, told the airline that they will oppose outsourcing of any part of the operation, according to the Irish Times.

Siptu general president Jack O’Connor said that Siptu was greatly concerned about the situation in Aer Lingus and that cutting wages of workers would not save the airline. He warned that the union would have to mount “the stiffest resistance possible to what is supposed to be proposed”.

He said: “We will have to see what kind of direction that the leadership of the company envisage . . . But anyone who suggests, and there is a concern about this, that by cutting workers’ wages you can save Aer Lingus is talking nonsense,” he said.
The airline posted an operating loss of €22.3m for the first half of this year, down from an operating profit of €2.6m a year earlier. It blamed the slump on soaring fuel prices and warned that without making radical cost-cutting measures, losses would extend much deeper next year.

Aer Lingus has already cut its capacity for this winter by 11%, so it is widely expected job will be the first casualty, as well as further reductions to its flight network.