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Aer Lingus staff vote for strike action

Tuesday, February 11 17:08:04

SIPTU members at Aer Lingus have voted overwhelmingly to take industrial action, including all out strike in a row over pensions.

Siptu members at the Dublin Airport Authority who are also covered by the same Irish aviation workers pension scheme, voted for industrial action yesterday.

The joint pension scheme has an estimated deficit of around E 780 million and employees are fearful that their anticipated benefits will be curtailed significantly.

In the Aer Lingus ballot 91 per cent of staff backed industrial action, with 80 per cent prepared to support a full strike.

A total of 78 per cent voted to withhold pension contributions from the current pension scheme.

Siptu represents ground staff grades at the airline as well as some cabin crew.

The bulk of cabin crew as well as pilots are members of Impact.

Other unions at Aer Lingus have not balloted for industrial action over the pension issue which has been the subject of negotiations for around four years at this stage. No date has been set as of yet for the commencement of any industrial action. Siptu said that staff at the airline had been unsuccessfully seeking to have their employer deal with the significant deficit in the Irish Airlines Superannuation Scheme (IASS) for several years.

Dermot O'Loughlin, SIPTU's pension policy advisor, said: "A total of 91 per cent and 80 per cent of the membership in two ballots voted in favour of taking industrial and strike action respectively. Separately, by way of a plebiscite, over 76 per cent members indicated that they would prefer that their on-going pension contributions to the scheme to be withheld pending resolution of the dispute on the pension issue."