Irish aviation workers in dispute over rosters

January 21, 2011

Aer Lingus cabin crew member, Aideen WalshA union representing cabin crew workers in Ireland is seeking third party intervention in a dispute over new rosters imposed by airline managers.

The ITF-affiliated Irish Municipal, Public and Civil Trade Union (IMPACT), acting on behalf of cabin crew workers at the Irish airline Aer Lingus, claims that the imposition by managers of new rosters contravenes an agreement reached last year. A spokesperson for IMPACT stated that while the issue had been extensively considered by the Labour Relations Commission (LRC), it would welcome a referral of the matter by the commission to the labour court.

Fifty workers have been taken off duties for refusing to work the new rosters. The roster includes: removing all meal breaks from European flights and introducing double shifts where staff must work on flights out and back from a destination twice in a day, which could lead to a working day of up to 11 hours and more if there are delays. Among other changes, cabin crew could also be sent to work away from base for 26 days at a stretch. No such duty has yet been rostered, but workers, particularly those with caring responsibilities, are concerned about how this would work in practice.

“We have asked the labour court to intervene because we understand that the problem needs to be resolved and because we are confident that we have a strong case to put before an independent third party,” according to an IMPACT spokesperson.

IMPACT continues to stress that any disruption to flights is being caused by management’s decision to take its own staff off duties. “Our members are reporting for work but the company is telling them to go home. The airline is operating exactly the same schedule this week as it was last week when cabin crew were working in the same way as they are willing to work today,” said the spokesperson.

The union insists that the imposed roster changes were not part of the LRC finding issued last year, which says that roster changes must be agreed or referred for arbitration, which can be binding.

Go to article in the ITF website

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