HomeBussinessAer Lingus pilots want €49,000 extra a year to avert strike

Aer Lingus pilots want €49,000 extra a year to avert strike

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It would see the most senior captains at the carrier, who are already at the top of their payscale, getting a more than €49,000 annual increase.

That is more than the basic annual pay of more than 3,500 of the 5,000 workers at the airline, it is understood.

The airline and the union are deadlocked in a pay dispute that now threatens to spill over into industrial action.

The union is balloting pilot members for action, with the result likely next Wednesday. It is almost certain the pilots will back the move, meaning the union could launch strike action with just a week’s notice.

The Labour Court issued an interim recommendation last month that would have seen the pilots receive a 9.25pc pay increase. That proposal was accepted by Aer Lingus but overwhelmingly ­rejected by pilots.

The pay increase sought by the union for the airline’s pilots would see the basic pay for the 200 most senior captains rise to €256,000 a year. They are currently on €207,000.

When other elements, such as long-service increments and flight pay are factored in, it is believed the total pay for most of the 200 pilots on that scale under the union proposal would jump to almost €349,000 a year from €287,000.

There are understood to be about 150 mid-career pilots at the carrier, who would also see their basic pay jump to more than €144,000 from €116,000 if the union pay claim was implemented. Their total pay would rise to more than €212,000.

It is likely the cost of the proposed IALPA increases for pilots to the airline would be between €40m and €45m a year. The airline has already lost out on the delivery of two new aircraft from its parent firm IAG due to the ongoing dispute.

Pilots already account for the single biggest chunk of wages and salaries paid out by Aer Lingus every year, which totalled €470m last year.

IALPA president Mark Tighe wrote to members this week, urging them to stand firm in their demands.

“Aer Lingus is highly profitable and is planning huge increases in profits in the coming years, which many of you have seen with your own eyes,” he said in a letter.

“We need now to enter this last stage together, united and strong. I do not take this lightly and management must look in your eyes and understand that we will stay the course and that we will prevail.”

Aer Lingus is certain to be already engaging in contingency planning in the event the pilot union calls for any industrial action.

It is likely that in the event a day of pilot stoppages is called, almost all the airline’s passengers would be impacted and the knock-on effects of any action would also be felt the day after.

With summer having started, it also means the ability to hire third-party aircraft to operate services is severely curtailed given the demand on capacity across Europe during the peak holiday season.

Aer Lingus pilots started balloting for industrial action this week.

The IALPA has been holding out for a total 27pc pay increase over three years, while Aer Lingus has offered 12.25pc.

The proposal by the carrier included 3.75pc to pay for a 2019 crewing agreement. IALPA’s proposal put to the ­Labour Court included just under a 24pc pay increase, with almost all of it backdated from 2022 to March this year and the outstanding amount pencilled in from next year.

An independent Pilot Pay Tribunal last year recommended a 12.25pc ­increase in consolidated pay and a 1.5pc rise in unconsolidated pay for the pilots.

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