herald

Monday 18 December 2017

Aer Lingus unions split over sale of State's airline stake

Aer Lingus sale
Aer Lingus sale

AER Lingus unions are embroiled in a row over the proposed sale of the State’s share in the airline to international aviation giant IAG.

The secretary of the company’s Central Representative Council, Myles Worth, yesterday suggested that staff were broadly in favour of the IAG bid and were warming to the idea of the potential €1.4bn sale.

However, a number of unions have since moved to dissociate themselves from the comments, saying they remain seriously concerned about the bid.

In a significant change from previous statements, Mr Worth yesterday warned that the airline could be in a “precarious” position in the future if it did not accept a bid.

IMPACT, which represents over 1,700 employees including pilots and cabin crew, has written to incoming chief executive Steven Kavanagh saying Mr Worth’s comments were not authorised by the union.

“The union still asserts that this takeover is bad for Aer Lingus staff, threatens their jobs and the connectivity assurances stated publicly are bad for Ireland,” said IMPACT National Secretary Matt Staunton.

A spokesman for the Irish Congress of Trade Union, which also represents workers, said it was “surprised” by Mr Worth’s comments and it remained “unconvinced” by any sale.

The Irish Airline Pilots’ Association has reportedly also dissociated itself from Mr Worth’s remarks.

ASSURANCES

SIPTU said it has not yet adopted a position pending clarification of assurances on direct employment and                                      connectivity.

Unions are due to meet management later this week to discuss the plans.

It is understood a meeting will be held today between Aer Lingus management, IAG representatives and union officials aimed at allaying concerns over the potential sale.

The internal row comes as a Labour TD hit back at former cabinet minister Pat Rabbite after he suggested the Government should sell its share in the company.

Mr Rabbitte yesterday said he is now in favour of the sale after hearing the proposal from IAG boss Willie Walsh.

“The Government is right to get back to routine decision making and avoid errors,” Mr Rabbitte said.

“However, this in not the same as avoiding making hard decision where the balance seems weighted in the national interest.”

hnews@herald.ie.

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