Concern has been expressed about the further of Aer Lingus’ cargo operation at Shannon Airport following confirmation that it will undergo a review in the new year.
Clare General Election candidate Richard Cahill has said workers have been contacting him fearing the operation is under threat and their jobs could be lost.
Aer Lingus has confirmed that it will undertake the review in 2016 but said it’s not possible to speculate on the outcome.
International Airlines Group (IAG), headed by former Aer Lingus boss Willie Walsh, completed a successful take-over of the Irish carrier earlier this year.
Mr Cahill says IAG and Aer Lingus have questions to answer and should come clean on their plans for cargo operations at Shannon.
“The cargo facility has been put under performance review for the first quarter of 2016 and staff have told me they are feeling decidedly nervous about this situation despite recent records showing that Shannon is a more financially efficient operation than its Dublin counterpart,” he said.
In a letter to AG’s UK & Ireland regional commercial manager, Mr Cahill said: “Staff have enquired as to the reason for the three month review, especially on foot of the recent internal announcement of the superior efficiency of the Shannon operation, but IAG have not answered.
In fact it appears to the staff that Shannon management may not know the reason for the review. Workers fear for their jobs despite repeated assurances during the IAG take-over,” he said.
Mr Cahill has said he seen communications from Aer Lingus CEO Stephen Kavanagh to Minister Gerald Nash, dated May 27th, as well as emails from Mr Kavanagh dated June 2nd. All of these communications seek clearly to assure staff of the security of their tenure of employment while seeking shareholder approval.
Mr Cahill has called on IAG to “clarify to the relevant Shannon based IAG staff that the upcoming review will not have any effect on their tenure of employment, therein allowing them to have a peaceful Christmas.”
“This is the least they deserve and no worker should have to worry about whether they will lose their job especially so close to Christmas. IAG and Aer Lingus should come out now and state their intentions for the cargo operation at Shannon Airport,” he added.
An Aer Lingus spokesman said: “Aer Lingus will review its cargo operations at Shannon next year. We constantly review all aspects of our business from commercial and operational point of view, across all of our bases.”
“The outcome of the review at Shannon is not pre-determined and it is not possible to speculate any further,” the company added.
IAG has previously stated: “Under IAG’s structure, Aer Lingus, as with all the airlines in the Group, is responsible for its own operation .”