28/01/2011

New Players Fly Into Aer Lingus Dispute

Two major groups representing the country's employers and unions have weighed into the Aer Lingus dispute in an attempt to resolve the now two week long conflict.

Talks between Aer Lingus management and cabin crew are to get under way today after to resolve the disagreement over new rosters, which has led to flight cancellations for thousands of customers and at least hundreds of thousands in additional costs for the airline.

Today's talks are part of a joint intervention by the Irish Congress of Trade Unions (ICTU) and the employers' body IBEC, who wrote to the union Impact who are representing airline's staff.

Impact said today that they had received a joint letter from ICTU general secretary David Begg and Brendan McGinty, IBEC's Director of Human Resources and industrial relations. Both umbrella groups invited Impact and Aer Lingus to brief them on the issue "with a view to seeing if any assistance can be offered towards finding a solution", at talks today.

An Impact spokesperson said the union welcomed the initiative and was ready to engage in the process as soon as it could be convened.

Both parties have confirmed that they will attend the talks.

This morning, Labour's Joe Costello said the decision by ICTU and IBEC to meet Aer Lingus and Impact to seek to resolve the dispute between the airline company and its cabin crew is to be greatly welcomed.

"The dispute has gone on for far too long with serious repercussions for the Cabin Crew many of whom have been taken of the payroll and for Aer Lingus which has lost much business and incurred unnecessary costs."

Mr Costello said that the Government had to foot some of the blame for being preoccupied with its "own convulsions" and failing to monitor the escalation of the dispute and use its position of responsibility to seek third party mediation.

Today, passengers are expected to experience continued disruption to some services, with more than a dozen flights likely to be cancelled.

(DW)

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