LONDON – Irish carrier Aer Lingus (EI) has confirmed this week that will cut 500 jobs from its 4,500 strong workforce.
This announcement comes following a previous statement regarding a 70% pay cut for all employees until August due to the collapse of possible deals with the unions.
The carrier has informed the Irish government of these changes, which is the first formal stage of what will be the consultation process.
The Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection, Regina Doherty was notified about this.
Cuts amid a 14-day quarantine
“Aer Lingus is now commencing the required consultation process with employee representative organizations,” she said in a statement.
The airline has had to resort to this due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic resulting in only five percent of its total operations running as usual.
It is also understood that the cuts are also due to the Irish government’s 14-day quarantine plans of which it advised against non-essential travel, thus worsening the situation for the airline.
Blaming the government and the airline
Aer Lingus, much like Ryanair (FR) are on common consensual grounds criticizing the Irish government for not taking the same steps as other countries within the European Union.
Other states have been able to slowly but surely resume operations, such as France and Spain.
The 500 job cuts are split up into 120 support area jobs, 100 ground crew, 50 maintenance staff with the other 230 jobs coming from pilots and cabin crew collectively.
One of the unions, Siptu has accused the carrier of “pouring petrol on the fire of an already difficult industrial relations environment” due to those original plans of cutting pay rates until August.
Accusations from Unions
The divisional organiser of the union Karan O’Loughlin stated that it would be impossible to conduct talks with the unions while some members are on temporary lay-off as well as having their pay cut by 70%.
On top of this, the airline had previously stated it would drop plans to cut pay to 30% of normal pay levels for staff as well as cancel the lay-offs at Shannon Airport but then later dropped those plans and pressed ahead anyway.
The unions have accused EI of treating workers differently after it was discovered that members of the Irish Airline Pilots Association were being allowed the time to take part in the deal.
Sustainability in hard times
Siptu also said that it would seek to keep as many jobs flowing within the carrier as possible.
However, in the wake of governments such as the Irish not taking the correct steps to restoring air travel to the best situation it can be in, it could be suggested that these lay-offs will be needed in order to remain sustainable in these times.
It ultimately would be down to the Irish government to not only save these jobs but also reverse its decision on such quarantining as it is too little and too late.