16/10/2007

Aer Lingus Pilots Ready For Belfast Take-Off

Aer Lingus pilots have voted to accept an agreement that will allow the company to operate its new Belfast hub.

The deal was finally agreed between the Irish Airline Pilots' Association and the airline's management at the Labour Relations Commission on Monday, leaving Aer Lingus ready for take-off from Belfast after all.

A meeting of 180 IALPA members at the ALSAA sports centre in Dublin Airport on Monday night voted to accept the proposals and the rest of the 480 pilots are expected to follow suit in a secret ballot, the results of which are expected on Thursday.

The agreement states that pilots at Aer Lingus' new Belfast operation will be recruited on local pay and conditions and this will apply to any future new bases overseas.

A separate pension scheme will apply for pilots recruited in Belfast, but pilots transferring to the Northern Ireland from the Republic of Ireland will retain their existing pension scheme.

The agreement also means that Aer Lingus will recognise IALPA and Impact as the representative unions for pilots in Belfast, which will allow the unions to have a role in future negotiations over pay and conditions.

The agreement means that pilots' previous non-cooperation with the hiring and training of staff for the Belfast hub will now be lifted. They had faced suspension if they had failed to co-operate.

The agreement averted a pilots strike which have resulted in all Aer Lingus flights being grounded today, with up to 15,000 passengers affected.

(KMcA)


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