Jack Quann
Jack Quann

07.45 24 Jul 2020


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The trade union SIPTU has warned there is a 'tsunami of redundancies' coming in the aviation sector.

It comes as stakeholders address the Oireachtas COIVD-19 Committee on Friday.

TDs will hear from representatives of the aviation, bus, rail and taxi sectors as well as officials from the Department of Transport.

SIPTU aviation sector organiser Neil McGowan will also appear before the committee.

Ahead of that, he told Newstalk Breakfast any travel advice - such as the 'green list' - needs to be respected by the public.

"I think whatever the public health advice is in relation to international travel needs to be followed.

"But where that public health advice has a significant impact on the aviation industry, I think the Government need to step in and offer more supports to the companies and particularly to the workers."

He said while the Temporary Wage Subsidy Scheme has been positive, "I certainly think the Government missed a trick where companies are still able to make people compulsorily redundant while availing of those State supports.

"So that is one of several recommendations that we're putting to the committee today: that the Wage Subsidy Scheme should be extended for aviation into at least May of next year.

"And we are seeking for it to be altered that conditionality is attached in relation to no compulsory redundancies, no permanent reduction in terms and conditions of employees."

aviation SIPTU aviation sector organiser Neil McGowan. Picture by: Newstalk

"What we're asking the responsible employers to do, and what we have been doing over the last period of time, is to engage with the trade unions and to agree voluntary severance packages.

"And that if they need to reduce the numbers employed in the airlines or the airports or at the ground handling companies that that is the responsible way to go about it".

"There's been relatively few actual redundancies in the industry to date, but there's an absolute tsunami of redundancies coming at us - I believe it will be in the thousands".

"We're extremely worried and our members are extremely worried...but I think one of the points that we will be making to the members of the committee today is that there will have to be an aviation industry in Ireland.

"We are an island economy, and if the economy is going to recover aviation is going to play a very key part in that".

He added: "This morning we are going to outline on behalf of our members in the aviation sector the devastating impact that the COVID-19 pandemic has had on the aviation industry.

"A number of airports ceased operations completely for a number of months from March to July, Dublin Airport in that time was operating almost exclusively as a cargo operation.

"And while there has been some pick up in operations, it hasn't been as everybody associated with the industry would have hoped.

"The workers in the industry have also had a devastating impact on their earnings - pay has been cut by anything from 20% to 70%.

"There's a number of people on temporary lay-off, all the Aer Lingus staff in Shannon Airport, for example, are on temporary lay-off.

"So as we head into the winter season which is traditionally quiet, people are looking at a pretty grim winter in the aviation industry".

'Tsunami of redundancies' coming in the aviation sector, SIPTU warns

00:00:00 / 00:00:00

   

Main image: Aer Lingus planes are seen at Dublin Airport in May 2014. Picture by: Artur Widak/PA Archive/PA Images

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Aviation Aviation Sector Dublin Airport Neil McGowan Newstalk Breakfast Oireachtas COIVD-19 Committee Recovery SIPTU

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