Aer Lingus pilots vote for industrial action in pay dispute

Aer Lingus pilots have voted overwhelmingly for industrial action as they seek 20%-plus pay increases.

The Irish Airline Pilots’ Association (Ialpa) confirmed on Monday that almost all 668 members who voted over three days in a ballot backed industrial action up to and including a strike.

The union’s president Captain Mark Tighe told BBC Radio Ulster that a strike this summer was “not inevitable”.

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The next step was for Aer Lingus management to “understand the strength of feeling” and “see that the pilots will not back down”, he said.

The ballot was conducted in person over the weekend and attracted a turnout of 89%.

Ialpa members voted in favour of industrial action via electronic ballot last week but Aer Lingus questioned the validity of the poll.

Tighe said the result of the second ballot was “an incredible reaffirmation of our mandate for industrial action in pursuit of a meaningful pay offer”.

They union must serve a minimum of seven days’ notice ahead of any industrial action. 

A spokesperson said it was considering a request from Aer Lingus for 15 days’ notice, which the union says the airline is seeking to avoid paying compensation to passengers from having flights cancelled.

Aer Lingus maintains that the 15 days of notice would allow it more time to make alternative arrangements for customers.

The airline said that “any decision by Ialpa to now serve notice of industrial action would be entirely unnecessary and would result in significant disruption to the airline’s customers and to other employees”.

A spokesperson for the airline said that any industrial action would not affect Aer Lingus regional services.

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