Aer Lingus employees vote in favour of 8.5% pay rise


Employees who work for Irish airline organisation Aer Lingus and are trade union members, have voted to accept an 8.5% pay rise recommended by the Labour Court.

Around 1,500 Aer Lingus employed baggage handlers, cleaners, boarding and checking staff, and office employees who are based in Cork, Dublin and Shannon airports and are members of the Services Industrial Professional and Technical Union (SIPTU), have voted 53% in favour of the Labour Court’s pay recommendations, while 95.6% of cabin crew and middle managers who are members of the trade union Impact have also voted in favour of the pay increase.

In addition, 66% of the 200 craft-based employees who work for Aer Lingus, and are members of the SIPTU, Unite, and the Technical Engineering and Electrical Union (TEEU), have voted in favour of accepting the Labour Court’s pay rise recommendations.

The 8.5% pay increase will be delivered over 39 months, with an initial 3% pay rise backdated to 1 April 2017. A further 2.75% pay rise will be awarded from 1 May 2018 and an additional 2.75% pay increase will be delivered from 1 June 2019. The deal expires on 30 June 2020.

Pilots are not covered by this pay agreement, as their pay is negotiated through a separate process.

Trade unions will now communicate with Aer Lingus to gain confirmation of the pay arrangements.

A spokesperson at Aer Lingus said: “Aer Lingus welcomes the confirmation that the [Irish Congress of Trade Unions] group of unions has voted to accept the Labour Court recommendation on pay. This is an important landmark recommendation for our organisation. It marks the first recommendation of its type as a private [organisation] since the acquisition by [International Airlines Group]. This outcome followed 12 months of engagement with staff representatives locally at the Workplace Relations Commission (WRC) and the subsequently the Labour Court. Aer Lingus chief executive officer, Stephen Kavanagh expresses his sincere thanks to the Workplace Relations Commission and the Labour Court for their work in helping the parties reach this agreement.”

Willie Quigley, regional officer at Unite and chair of the craft group of unions in Aer Lingus, said: “This ballot result means that all craft and non-craft grades have voted to accept the Labour Court recommendation on pay. However, there is still work to be done to ensure that Aer Lingus [employees] share fully in Aer Lingus’ success, having made significant sacrifices to help the airline survive during the recession.

“The craft unions will now engage with Aer Lingus management in relation to the other three elements of the Labour Court recommendation. These include productivity and license pay, as well as profit-sharing arrangements which we see as an opportunity to negotiate further reward in return for the [employees’] contribution to the [organisation’s] success.”

Angela Kirk, official at Impact, added: “Aer Lingus staff have worked hard to ensure that the airline survived the recession and thrived in the early years of recovery. We believe a profit-sharing scheme should be put in place as a way of recognising and rewarding [employees’] contributions to the success of the [organisation].”

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Neil McGowan, organiser at SIPTU, said: “The acceptance of the proposals by [employees] in the craft grade in Aer Lingus, which includes members of SIPTU, Unite and TEEU, concludes a 12-month process which involved local negotiations, meetings at the Workplace Relations Commission and ultimately a hearing in the Labour Court.

“The result of this ballot is only a first step towards improving union members’ terms and conditions of employment at the airline. Aer Lingus is posting significant profits as a result of restructuring programmes which have been implemented by our members and the sacrifices they have made in terms of reductions to their pension benefits. It is now time that our members were provided with their fair share of these significant profits.”