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Crowe slams Aer Lingus

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AER Lingus have exploited the pandemic, using it to address industrial relations issues, Clare TD Cathal Crowe alleged at Tuesday’s sitting of the Oireachtas Joint Committee on Transport and Communications.
Deputy Crowe said that the State had been paying the vast majority of the Aer Lingus wage bill, but the airline had still not treated its workers with respect. He said he had sight of a Shannon employee’s pay slip, which showed how little the airline had been paying.
“They got €635.89 in a fortnight. The Irish taxpayer paid €600 of that, Aer Lingus’ net contribution was €35.89. I think when the taxpayer is contributing majorly to the airline there’s a certain onus on you to commit to airports, to your workforce and not wait until the eve of reopening, to the final furlong of Covid, before pulling the carpet from under them and use terms like inefficiency.”
He accused the airline of abusing the support it has got from the Irish state. “You have used Covid as an airline to address some industrial relations issues you wanted addressed for many years. You’ve exploited an opportunity, you’ve taken the tax payer for a ride in some ways I would say.”
Deputy Crowe said that the workers based at Shannon had a contract with Aer Lingus, not specifically to the Shannon base, and the commonplace practice of last in first out should have applied.
“You have used Covid as an airline to address some industrial relations issues you wanted addressed for many years. You’ve exploited an opportunity, you’ve taken the tax payer for a ride in some ways I would say.”
However Ms Embleton rejected his claim that Aer Lingus had sought to use the pandemic to get staff out.
“If people think Aer Lingus are exploiting the situation, then they really do not understand the severity of the impact that Covid has had on aviation and Aer Lingus.
“We are taking business decisions that we need to take to protect the future of Aer Lingus, to protect jobs for the many and to restore connectivity. We are losing €1 million a day (even) with the support of the EWSS.”
She said the closure of the Shannon base was not a commentary on the workers there or their professionalism.

About Owen Ryan

Owen Ryan has been a journalist with the Clare Champion since 2007, having previously worked for a number of other regional titles in Limerick, Galway and Cork.