SHANNON-based Aer Lingus employees who are currently out of work are very disillusioned with their treatment during the pandemic.
Speaking on Tuesday, one worker said that Shannon employees were first laid off, despite having given greater service in many cases than colleagues based at Dublin and Cork.
“We are the most senior crew, yet we were laid off on June 21. We ended up on the Temporary Wage Subsidy Scheme and now since the start of September we’re supposed to be on the Pandemic Unemployment Payment, but it’s been a disaster because most of us have been rejected for it. We’ve been sending in applications and getting rejected, whatever way the glitch is they haven’t us off the TWSS.”
It has not been possible to get answers from the company, they claimed. “There’s a group of us who asked to meet the Commercial Department of Aer Lingus three weeks ago to ask why Shannon is being used as a pawn. We’re hearing that the few flights Ryanair have to Stansted and Gatwick have high load numbers on them, and these are people who would have travelled with us. There’s no reason they don’t have flights to Heathrow and they’ve never really given a reason why it’s not good enough to have a flight out of Shannon when there is one out of Cork. We’re in a region with nearly 40% of foreign direct investment, we’re primed for business travel to Heathrow and it’s just being ignored.”
The mooted loss of Shannon’s transatlantic services, which would be transferred to the UK, makes little sense, the worker added. “The logistics around setting up something like that would offset any reason for not flying out of Shannon. It would cost them huge amounts of money. The logistics around it don’t wash, but when you hear that you’re thinking the aircraft will be taken and not given back.”
There is real concern that the cabin crew won’t be eligible to fly, if there are no services until later this year. “All of the cabin crew in Shannon, we have licences to renew and there is yearly training we have to do. When that runs out, we’re not allowed to fly, so even if they did decide to do something they’re not even keeping us current and within date. The worry then is that you could end up seeing a Shannon-Heathrow flight in October, November or December and there’d be no Shannon crew doing it. That’s a huge, huge worry and a lot of the staff have been trying to contact their TDs about that. It’s something that needs to be expressed, it’s important that’s reported.”