Salary deal leaves Aer Lingus pilots ‘better off’, says Ialpa – Homepage

Salary deal leaves Aer Lingus pilots ‘better off’, says Ialpa – Homepage

By Cillian Sherlock and Gráinne Ní Aodha, PA

Updated at 10:14

Aer Lingus pilots will be “better off” if they agree to a new collective agreement, their union said.

Pilots of the Irish Air Line Pilots’ Association (Ialpa) are to vote on a 17.75 percent collective agreement following a recommendation from the Employment Tribunal to resolve a long-standing dispute with Aer Lingus over pay.

The salary increases will extend over the period from 2022 to 2026.

In a speech on Thursday, Ialpa President Mark Tighe said: “While we have not fully discussed inflation, we expect that pilots will be 19.2 percent better off in two years than they were before – which is roughly the same as the rate of inflation.”

When asked whether the agreement included measures to increase pilot productivity, Mr Tighe said: “None at all.”

“We did not sell any working conditions as part of this deal.

“We recommend it (the employment tribunal’s recommendations) because we believe it is a deal that the pilots can hopefully accept and then we will move on. We have had a very successful period as a group of people demonstrating our unity and collective strength. And that is vital for the future.”

Captain Tighe said Ialpa did not intend to inconvenience passengers. “I certainly did not intend to inconvenience our passengers.”

“I have repeatedly stressed how important they are to us pilots. But unfortunately management could have reached this point long ago and the question should really be addressed directly to them,” he replied when asked whether he regretted the impact of the dispute on the public.

Captain Tighe said he understood that there would be “inflation meetings” on Ialpa.

“The issue of inflation and the fact that workers are being left behind while corporate profits continue to rise is an important issue that needs to continue to be discussed by everyone in this country.”

Following the recommendation of the labor court, the pilots’ obligation to take industrial action was lifted. “Given the management’s recommendation to accept this deal, we considered this to be an appropriate step.”

The amount of 17.75 percent was recommended by the Employment Tribunal after consultation with Aer Lingus and the Irish Air Line Pilots’ Association (Ialpa).

The union will hold a series of meetings with its members ahead of a vote on the terms of the Labour Court’s recommendation next week.

Taoiseach Simon Harris welcomed the developments.

In a statement, he said: “I welcome IALPA’s decision to suspend industrial action and recommend that the Labour Court’s proposal be accepted.”

“This is a very positive development for the travelling public and our tourism sector.

“I have repeatedly stressed that compromise and commitment are the only way forward.”

Aer Lingus aircraft at Dublin Airport
Aer Lingus aircraft at Dublin Airport as more flights were cancelled (Artur Widak/PA)

Aer Lingus welcomed Ialpa’s recommendation to its members to accept the deal and the decision to stop industrial action.

It said: “We look forward to Ialpa completing the voting process as quickly as possible.”

Aer Lingus had previously cancelled 25 more flights for next Monday and Tuesday and announced that it would contact the affected customers.

It was also said that further cancellations would be announced on Thursday.

In the two weeks since the industrial action began, hundreds of flights have been cancelled, disrupting the plans of thousands of holidaymakers.

Aer Lingus said that those affected by flight cancellations would be given the opportunity to rebook their flight free of charge or request a refund or voucher.

Customers can check affected flights on Aer Lingus’ travel advice page.

The airline said the labour dispute had caused “both financial and reputational damage”.

The pilots had originally demanded a salary increase of 24 percent, which they said corresponds to the rate of inflation since the last salary increase in 2019.

They had previously rejected a labor court’s recommendation for a 9 percent wage increase, but Ialpa had indicated that the union would consider a wage increase of less than 24 percent.

Additional reporting Vivienne Clarke