Aer Lingus Pilots Restart Pay Negotiations Ahead Of Strike

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Summary

  • Aer Lingus and IALPA talks have reportedly failed, leaving a pilot strike looking more likely.
  • Pilot union seeks 23.8% pay raise having rejected 9.25% offer proposed by Labour Court.
  • Aer Lingus forced to drop Airbus A321XLR planes as a result of strike uncertainty.

Aer Lingus has held talks with pilots union Irish Airline Pilots’ Association (IALPA) as the two parties attempt to reach a deal and avert a strike. According to the latest reports, negotiations have broken down and a pilot strike looks increasingly likely.

Aer Lingus pilot negotiations end

According to a report by RTE, the Irish carrier and union IALPA have ended talks without an agreement, pushing pilots closer to strike action. As Simple Flying reported last week, Aer Lingus pilots are voting on a strike ballot amid their pay dispute, which the carrier noted was “entirely unnecessary” given that an upcoming meeting with management had yet to take place.

Photo: Vincenzo Pace I Simple Flying

Deadlock on pay rise

Talks began on Tuesday morning and are said to have concluded by 14:30 with no breakthrough. Aer Lingus claims the union is asking for an “unsustainable level of increase” in pay exceeding 20%, adding that IALPA ended the talks despite alternative solutions involving a third-party mediator being put forward. It also said the union rejected any suggestion of increasing productivity or flexibility in exchange for its demands.

IALPA has rejected the recommendation of the Labour Court for pay increases of 9.25% as part of an interim settlement. Instead, it is seeking a 23.8% pay rise, stating that its pilots haven’t seen a raise since 2019. IALPA said,

“Aer Lingus expressed a wish to return to a third party mediator or the Workplace Relations Commission, which was rejected by Ialpa in favour of direct negotiations. IALPA views direct negotiations as the best way forward considering 20 months of process has concluded without agreement.”

Around 800 Aer Lingus pilots are represented by IALPA, so any strike would have a massive impact on the carrier’s operations, particularly as we enter the busy summer travel season. The results of the ballot are expected on June 12th, with both parties expecting the vote to be strongly in favor of a strike – the union would be required to provide seven days notice of any industrial action.

Impact on fleet

Aer Lingus has been forced to drop two of its new Airbus A32XLR from its fleet plans this year due to the uncertainty surrounding the strike. The airline had long been penciled in as the launch customer of the upcoming A321XLR, but this milestone will go to fellow IAG-carrier Iberia instead.

A321XLR First flight

Photo: Airbus

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Iberia CEO Reveals Airbus A321XLR Debut On US Routes

Aer Lingus will not be the launch customer due to a pilot dispute.

Having already conceded its first A321XLR airframe to Iberia, last week it emerged that Aer Lingus will also lose a second plane to the Spanish carrier. The carrier says that IALPA’s actions will have a significant impact on the airline’s fortunes, adding that the union has failed to participate in independent processes to reach a resolution.

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