HomeBussinessAer Lingus pilots to halt industrial action

Aer Lingus pilots to halt industrial action

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Aer Lingus pilots halted industrial action at the airline as their union leaders backed a 17.75 per cent pay rise offer late on Wednesday night, but some passengers still face cancelled flights into early next week.

Irish Air Line Pilots’ Association (Ialpa) officials agreed to recommend that its Aer Lingus members vote for the Labour Court-brokered deal to boost pay by 17.75 per cent and to immediately lift a work to rule that has upended the travel plans of almost 86,000 passengers.

The union’s move came after it sought confirmation from the court of key points of the deal and clarification from Aer Lingus on concerns raised by officials.

“Following the communication from the Labour Court today (Wednesday) and further clarification from Aer Lingus, Ialpa has met and passed a motion to recommend acceptance of the Labour Court’s recommendation,” said a statement.

Capt Mark Tighe, Ialpa president, dubbed the pay increase “a significant win” for pilots.

However, the airline had earlier on Wednesday already cancelled 25 flights through next Monday and Tuesday as it remained unclear whether Ialpa, part of trade union Fórsa, would be in a position to endorse the Labour Court proposal. That brought total cancellations since the work to rule began two weeks ago to 573.

Aer Lingus welcomed the development, saying “we look forward to Ialpa completing the balloting process as soon as possible”. The company has already accepted the Labour Court recommendation, but Ialpa must put it to a vote of its members, which will begin on July 18th and close on July 23rd. However, the executive’s decision to back the court’s proposal, boosting pilots’ pay by 17.75 per cent over three years and increasing some of their allowances, is likely to sway most members in favour of the deal.

Ialpa officials will meet Aer Lingus pilots and organise a ballot of its near 800 members there over the coming days. The union’s work to rule, which has seen members refuse to work over time or accept roster changes, will be suspended during this period.

Taoiseach Simon Harris welcomed Ialpa’s recommendation to accept the Labour Court proposal. In a statement, the Fine Gael leader described it as “a very positive development for the travelling public and our tourism sector”.

The union had sought pay increases of more than 20 per cent to compensate pilots for inflation, but said it moderated its stance during talks with the company. Aer Lingus and Ialpa appeared before the Labour Court for more than three hours last Wednesday and more than nine hours the previous Monday.

The court issued its recommendation this week. It proposes that Aer Lingus increase pilots’ pay by 17.75 per cent over more than three years, beginning with 2 per cent backdated to January of last year and concluding with a final 1 per cent rise to kick in on July 1st, 2026.

There are eight payments in all, four backdated, which will give them 10.75 per cent by the end of this year, with the remaining 7 per cent paid between January next and July 2026.

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