Impasse to resolving Aer Lingus dispute ‘sits’ with airline – Ialpa

The president of the Irish Air Line Pilots’ Association (Ialpa) has said the impasse to resolving its dispute with Aer Lingus “sits” with the airline.

Mark Tighe, the president of Ialpa, which represents the pilots, described claims by Aer Lingus that it has “repeatedly sought” to engage with Ialpa as “not accurate”.

The airline said it has sought meetings to discuss ways to increase pilot pay beyond the proposed 12.25% increase.

It also said it has asked Ialpa to re-engage with the Labour Court and the Workplace Relations Commission (WRC).

However, Mr Tighe said the claims were “not accurate”.

“We met them last on Monday and we’ve asked repeatedly since then to meet with them, most recently on the 21st and yesterday the 22nd,” he told RTE’s This Week.

“They stated for the record in the media that they would not meet us unless we were willing to pay for a pay increase. The impasse here clearly sits with Aer Lingus.”

Aer Lingus said it has had to cancel at least 244 flights between next Wednesday and Sunday as a result of industrial action by pilots.

Aer Lingus pilots are set to begin a work-to-rule from Wednesday in their dispute over pay.

They are also planning an eight-hour strike from 5am until to 1pm on Saturday, which would affect around 15,000 passengers.

“We’re not looking to improve our pay, we’re looking to retain our pay from before,” Mr Tighe added.

“If we were looking to improve our pay, the claim would be to meet international competition from the big airlines that we operate against.

“The company have become very aggressive over the last week in that period of time since we met with them last, which was Monday.

“They have set up a pilot sickness review committee, which is not in the agreement, so they are contacting each individual pilot who they believe is excessively sick.

“This is an outright attack and pilot sickness is a significant legal thing because a pilot obviously, by law, cannot be in control on aircraft when they’re sick.

“It’s designed to intimidate.

“I received a letter from the general counsel as a number of others did, accusing me and others of an orchestrated and unlawful campaign of illegal industrial action.

“This is utterly baseless and false”

Ialpa is seeking a pay increase of 24%, which it says equates to inflation since the last pay rise in 2019.

Aer Lingus has described the pay demand as unrealistic and said there have been no pay deals in Ireland that delivered such an increase.

On Friday, Irish premier Simon Harris said people need to “step back from the brink” in relation to the dispute.