Aer Lingus workers at Shannon Airport will be laid off without pay for three months from next week, the carrier has confirmed.
The airline’s full year results, published last week, showed the carrier made an operating of loss of €361m in 2020. This represents the largest ever loss in the airline’s history and demonstrates the profound impact of Covid19.
The airline has now confirmed that all 129 in-flight and ground operations staff at Shannon will be placed on temporary unpaid lay-off from March 8th June 7th.
This, according to Aer Lingus, could be further extended or changed based on work requirements at the Mid West airport.
The company has said: “Increased travel restrictions in Ireland and across our network and the subsequent negative impact on demand for travel required us to review our network schedule and operations.
Aer Lingus has completed a review of the Shannon operation, and on the basis that no flights have operated to or from Shannon since 5th April 2020, Aer Lingus has concluded that it is not sustainable to continue to roster staff to the current levels when there is no work available.
As a result, Aer Lingus has had to take the decision to place all 129 Inflight Service and Ground Operations staff in Shannon on temporary unpaid lay-off from 8 March 2021 until 7 June 2021. This may also be subject to further extension or change based on work requirements in Shannon.
Aviation planning has long lead-times and it is therefore imperative that a clear exit plan from the current restrictions is urgently developed. This will enable the restoration of Ireland’s connectivity as quickly as possible and ensure that the economy is supported to deliver the recovery that will be vital for the country. Government should engage proactively with all the relevant stakeholders to ensure that this plan is put in place.”
Clare Fianna Fáil Senator Timmy Dooley said: “The Aer Lingus announcement at Shannon of temporary layoffs for three months is another body blow to the Mid-West aviation and tourism sector shows a very short-sighted approach by the company failing to recognise the loyalty of its staff.
“It is really disappointing that Aer Lingus are treating their loyal staff in such a manner – they have remained loyal to the brand over the years and it’s a foolhardy move to force them onto social welfare for the next three months. Aer Lingus should think of the long-term damage to the brand by this action.
“The aviation sector is facing unprecedented challenges due to the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic and the Government needs to do much more for the tourism and aviation sector.
“I will endeavour to work with all stakeholders involved to support these vital sectors” concluded the Senator.
SIPTU members in Aer Lingus employed at Shannon Airport are devastated by the news that they will be placed on temporary lay-off for a three month period from 8th March.
SIPTU Sector Organiser Neil McGowan said: “This is a devastating blow to the Aer Lingus workers based in Shannon Airport who have been on significantly reduced earnings for the last year.
“The decision by management to lay-off the workers until June will result in further hardship and uncertainty for the 50 members affected.
“Aer Lingus has not operated flights from Shannon since April of last year with the result that workers employed at the airport have suffered significant reductions in working hours and pay.
“This announcement and the fact that Aer Lingus will not have operations from Shannon until at least June 2021 highlights the pressing need for the Government to provide additional supports to aviation workers generally.
“The industry will simply not survive without significant supports for workers and employers across the Aviation industry”.
SIPTU Organiser, Tony Carroll, added: “It is unclear what savings, if any, will be achieved by these lay-offs. Shannon Airport is vital to the economy of the Mid-West and supports hundreds of jobs directly and many thousands more across the region. The longer the pandemic continues to impact on aviation and there are not tailored supports for the industry and those who depend on it for a living, the more lasting the damage to workers and Ireland’s connectivity will be.”
SIPTU represents 80 members employed in Aer Lingus at Shannon Airport.