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Aer Lingus pilots will not have to make work practice changes in return for 17.75pc pay rise

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Aer Lingus should increase pilots’ pay by 17.75pc, according to the Labour Court recommendationsIf implemented, the pay deal would cover a four-year period from January 1 2023 to the end of 2026Ialpa is to meet within 24 hours to discuss the court’s recommendations

The Labour Court today issued a recommended 17.75pc pay increase for Aer Lingus pilots in a bid to end the long-running dispute that has already hit over 80,000 holidaymakers.

It previously issued an interim recommendation to end the dispute, which was rejected.

The phasing of the pay rises that are proposed are a total of 5.75pc made up of 2pc backdated to January 1 last year, 1.75pc backdated to July 1 last year and 2pc since October 1 last year.

This is a similar amount to the increases agreed for other staff at the airline.

In addition, the pilots would get a total of 5pc in two phases this year, 3pc in one instalment next year, and 4pc in two phases in 2026.

An overnight allowance would be increased by 10pc and a pay scale that is 10pc lower for new recruits abolished.

Debt that the pilots were carrying as part of a crewing agreement that related to their pay during the Covid pandemic will be scrapped. It is also proposed that an annual leave arrangement that was recently agreed will be abolished.

The court says that as part of its 17.75pc pay rise recommendation for pilots, “contested elements” of the 2019 agreement be regarded as “unsustainable and inoperable” and will be regarded as terminated at the end of this year as part of its overall recommendation.

“The court understood from its engagements with the parties on both of these occasions that the potential exists for a very grave and unfavourable outcome to this trade dispute should resolution not be found in the short term,” the recommendation published this afternoon notes.

It adds: “Similarly, the court came to understand that, notwithstanding their extensive engagements directly and with the assistance of a series of expert bodies, no discernible narrowing of the gap between the parties’ respective positions on key matters, or indeed their disputation on matters of fact, had emerged.”

The 17.75pc pay increase recommended by the Labour Court will be broken down as follows:

  • 2pc with effect from 1st January 2023
  • 1.75pc with effect from 1st July 2023
  • 2pc with effect from 1st October 2023
  • 3.5pc with effect from 1st January 2024
  • 1.5pc with effect from 1st October 2024
  • 3pc with effect from 1st January 2025.
  • 3pc with effect from 1st January 2026
  • 1pc with effect from 1st July 2026

Today’s News in 90 Seconds – July 8th 2024

An independent pilot pay tribunal had last year recommended a 12.25pc increase in consolidated pay and a 1.5pc rise in unconsolidated pay.

Ialpa has been seeking a near 24pc pay increase for pilots, and has resisted attempts by the airline to push for productivity gains in return for raising its pay offer. It says the pay claim is based on extraordinary rates of inflation in recent years.

“No alignment with inflation as a means of determining pay growth has been shown or contended to have been agreed between the parties or applied at any time preceding the within trade dispute or the making of the claim of the trade union,” noted the Labour Court.

The 12.25pc pay increase for pilots already proposed by Aer Lingus included 3.75pc to pay for a 2019 crewing agreement.

The agreement, introduced by the airline in agreement with the Irish Airline Pilots’ Association, introduced a number of favourable measures for pilots, such as those related to annual leave during the busy summer period, for instance. Under the agreement, the cost of those measures was to be borne by pilots.

The Labour Court made an interim recommendation in May this year which did not attempt to definitively resolve the pilot pay dispute. However, It recommended an interim resolution which would facilitate a final resolution being achieved through further engagement and a further referral to the court, if necessary. That included a recommendation of an interim 9.25pc pay increase for pilots.

That recommendation was rejected by the trade union as a means of advancing the dispute towards resolution in an orderly fashion, noted the Labour Court.

The court added today: “No submission has been made that pay determination / pay growth for pilots, or indeed the company generally, over the years has been linked to or determined by the prevailing rate of inflation in the economy.”

The Labour Court said it would appear to be accepted that wage growth for pilots, exclusive of wage growth arising from the application of incremental pay scales to the pay of individual pilots, has regularly exceeded the rate of inflation in the economy.

“It is to be assumed that pay, exclusive of pay growth arising from the application of increments, regularly lagged inflation over the decades also,” the recommendation notes.

The recommendation will also see agreed 2022 pay scales terminated if the recommendation is accepted, with pilots reverting to a single scale from that date.

The dispute has seen hundreds of flights cancelled by the airline in a bid to minimise travel disruption.

A spokesperson for Aer Lingus said last week that between the start of the industrial action on June 26 and Sunday, July 14, there will have been a total of 548 flights cancelled, hitting about 82,000 passengers.

Speaking ahead of a formal hearing at the court last week, Aer Lingus executive Dónal Moriarty said the airline wanted changes to flexibility and productivity to move beyond its 12.25pc pay offer.

He said work practice changes being sought in return for a bigger pay rise for Aer Lingus pilots would have a “minimal” impact on them.

Kevin Callinan, the general secretary of Ialpa’s parent union Fórsa, had warned that the court’s current intervention is crucial.

If it fails, he said it would have “the most dire consequences” including a serious escalation of industrial action.

In a statement following today’s recommendation, Aer Lingus said:

“Aer Lingus will carefully review the final recommendation of the Labour Court. The company will confirm its position following completion of that review.”

Ialpa is to meet within 24 hours to discuss the court’s recommendations as some members of its executive committee are on flight duty.

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