Aer Lingus, unions meet over pensions dispute

A 2-hour work stoppage may still go-ahead next week.

SIPTU representatives at Aer Lingus are meeting this lunchtime to discuss their next move in a dispute over pensions.

Talks between management and unions at the airline broke down at the Labour Relations Commission (LRC) last month and unions served notice of industrial action for next Monday.

That threat of action appeared to have receded over the weekend following the intervention of the Irish Congress of Trade Unions (ICTU) and employers group IBEC.

But SIPTU says it still has concerns.

Stoppage may still go ahead

The notice of a 2-hour work stoppage followed the break-down of talks aimed at resolving a dispute over a €748 million  deficit in the company pension scheme which could leave workers with just 4% of their retirement entitlements.

Over the weekend ICTU and IBEC intervened in the dispute and Aer Lingus agreed to re-enter talks on a “voluntary, non-binding” basis.

However there are concerns that what appeared to be a breakthrough may not avert disruption for passengers after all.

SIPTU says the wording of the statement from Aer Lingus on returning to the talks indicates that the company wants concessions over productivity measures in exchange for plugging the pensions deficit.

Shop stewards are meeting at the unions Airport Offices this afternoon to discuss their next move but sources indicate that the planned work stoppage may still go ahead.