Friday, October 26 16:12:26
SIPTU has expressed its disappointment at the collapse last evening of talks at the Labour Relations Commission (LRC) aimed at resolving the pensions crisis at Aer Lingus and the Dublin Airport Authority (DAA).
Meanwhile, Ryanair offered to break any strike that may occur by offering fully crewed aircraft for Aer L:ingus passengers.
Industrial action looks increasingly likely at Aer Lingus after the breakdown of talks aimed at addressing a E750m deficit in the pension scheme.
According to SIPTU Organiser, Dermot O'Loughlin, union members and Congress representatives will meet on Tuesday to discuss their response to the latest breakdown of negotiations.
"It is disappointing that there has been no progress in the discussions to resolve the crisis which threatens thousands of employees with financial ruin in their retirement years. The intransigence of Aer Lingus is particularly disturbing as the airline is responsible for its failure to properly fund the pension scheme over many years. At the same time, the company has made generous pension contributions for a small number of elite staff which are ten times greater than those made for employees at lower grades. Aer Lingus has cash reserves of E1 billion and could resolve this issue if it had the will to do so. Unlike the DAA, it has refused to engage in meaningful discussions at the Labour Court or LRC over recent weeks."
Ryanair's Spokesman said today that he regards what he call "this latest attempt by Aer Lingus unions to bully the airline into making further unjustified" contributions to Aer Lingus' defined contribution pension schemes as "industrial blackmail".
"These claims are totally unjustified coming from a group of unions which already received a gift of E104m into their pension schemes in 2006, on top of receiving 15pc of Aer Lingus' equity at the IPO and a further E35m gift from the airline in 2010 to pay off the ESOT's bank debts," he said.