ALTHOUGH Aer Lingus is in receipt of the Employment Wage Subsidy Scheme, it has announced it will lay off 129 in-flight service and ground operations staff at Shannon, from next Monday until June 7.
One cabin crew worker said that the move to solely lay off the Shannon staff, despite excess staff at all its bases, shows a long-standing anti-Shannon attitude at a senior level in Aer Lingus.
“We’re just getting targeted all the time, this is the second time we’ve been targeted just since the pandemic. There’s a surplus at every base, every single base and we’re the most senior cabin crew in Aer Lingus, but yet we’re the ones being laid off,” he said.
Management have not revealed how much money will be saved by the move, but with the airline receiving State support, it will not be particularly significant.
“It’s not any amount of money that’s going to close the company. They targeted one specific group, which they always do and they’ve been doing it for 20 years. Every time something happens it’s just ‘target Shannon’, there’s such a hatred of the place, I don’t know why.”
He added, “What they were saying to us was they were cutting their cloth, but I want to know how much they save. They could have spread it across the board with cabin crew, maybe reduced the people in Dublin to 50% and us to 40%.
“I respect the fact there are no flights but there has been no effort by Aer Lingus or the Government. Cork has three flights to London a week, but anyone from this region who wants to fly has to go there.
“There is no work for anyone at the moment, do you know what I’m saying? There’s a huge amount of people up in Dublin who are surplus to requirements as well, but they’re still all going to get paid.
“In my opinion they could have got that saving by reducing everyone by 10% or something for three months, until we got back on track. They’re targeting us again when they could have spread the bad news across the company.”
For decades there has been a persistent belief that Aer Lingus management have held a very negative view of Shannon and he feels this week’s news is more evidence.
“I don’t know how they go home and say we’ve just targeted a small group of people in Shannon for a few quid, which will have nothing to do with whether Aer Lingus survives or not.
“They could have spread it across the cabin crew body, but they just said this is an easy lump of money to save, we’ll just tell them to feck off for a couple of months.”
He said that the airline has received the EWSS, which is designed to preserve employment, but has reneged on its end, by laying off employees anyway.
“It’s just not right,” he said.
The man said that he will find himself unable to pay his mortgage temporarily, and he will be penalised financially for this, whereas in certain other European countries banks have not been allowed to profit from the economic disruption caused by Covid.
– Owen Ryan