Northern Ireland

Aer Lingus: Work-to-rule could be more disruptive than strikes

The airline has confirmed that the action by pilots will cause “significant disruption” for holidaymakers

Pilots at Aer Lingus have served noticed to the airline that they intend to go on an ‘indefinite’ work to rule starting next week
Pilots at Aer Lingus have served noticed to the airline that they intend to go on an ‘indefinite’ work to rule starting next week (Niall Carson/PA)

Aer Lingus pilots will start an indefinite work-to-rule next week which is expected to cause “significant disruption” and could result in cancelled flights during the busy summer holiday season.

The news could spell disaster for the many holidaymakers from the north travelling via Dublin this summer.

The Irish Airline Pilot’s Association (IALPA) notified the airline that the industrial action will being from midnight on Wednesday June, 26.

The work to rule is set to be indefinite and during that time pilots will not work overtime, perform any out of hours duties, work outside agreed rosters or answer calls out of hours.

The action could hinder the airline’s ability to manage delays and any other problems it may encounter during its busiest time of the year.

It is understood that if it goes ahead it could be more disruptive than one day of strike action, and if prolonged could lead to flight cancellations.

IALPA President Captain Mark Tighe said: “We are in this position because management have failed to provide us with a meaningful offer on pay that accounts for inflation and the sacrifices made by pilots to save Aer Lingus during the pandemic.

“Management keep insisting that pilots must sell their working conditions in exchange for any increase in pay. We are absolutely not prepared to do that, especially when Aer Lingus is making enormous profits.”

“While the airline said it is doing everything it can to minimise disruption for travellers, it warned that “a significant level of disruption is inevitable”.

The action is set to start during one OF the year’s busiest period with many families jetting off on their summer holidays.

A spokesperson for the airline said the move by the union was “entirely unnecessary”.

They added: “Aer Lingus will assess the impact of the full detail of the industrial action served by IALPA, including the strict ‘work to rule’ that they have outlined.

“It will inevitably result in significant disruption to our customers and to other employees. Aer Lingus will do everything possible to minimise the disruption to customers, but unfortunately a significant level of disruption is inevitable.

“In advance of being served with the notice, Aer Lingus wrote to IALPA informing them that industrial action at this time of year would cause very significant disruption and have a devastating impact on customers and their families going into the summer holiday season.”

Almost 700 of the near-800 pilots at Aer Lingus are represented by IALPA. Over the weekend, they voted overwhelmingly in favour of industrial action.

The pilots are seeking a pay increase of almost 24%.