Report finds a third of Aer Lingus cabin crew taking sleeping pills

Wellbeing report finds 'extaordinarily high' prevalence of ill-health

One third of Aer Lingus cabin crew are regularly on sleeping pills, according to a trade union survey.

The study carried out by trade union Impact shows that the rate of ill-heath among cabin crew members is "extraordinarily high", while almost 50 % of workers continue to work despite reporting illness.

Impact spokesman Michael Landers said many crew members suffered from sleep disruption and digestive disorders.

"The rates of ill-health among cabin crew were extraordinarily high, particularly their level of psychological well being which was very low."

He blamed the "very disruptive rosters they work".

The Health & Wellbeing report, compiled for IMPACT by Dr Richard Wynne of the Dublin-based Work Research Centre, took place over 28 days in July 2014, and found high rates of ill health among Aer Lingus cabin crew in Dublin, Cork and Shannon.

Crews showed a very high rate of digestive disorders and tremendous problems with sleep disruption to the point that a full one third of cabin crew were relying on sleep medication at least once a week.

Almost 50pc of respondents said they had worked while sick, with 39.4pc saying they did so to avoid the company's disciplinary process, IMPACT says.

Mr Landers said the report shows the main reason cabin crew continued to work while ill was that they wanted to avoid the company’s disciplinary process (39.4%) while 28.6% responded that their illness wasn’t serious enough for them to miss work.

Aer Lingus have defended its work practices, stressing that they work in one of the most regulated industries in the world when it comes to employee wellbeing. It also said it was not asked to contribute to the study.