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Irish-Based Cabin Crew Are To Continue

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IRISH-BASED cabin crew are to continue to operate Aer Lingus transatlantic services under a deal reached between the airline and the union Impact yesterday.

The agreement will also secure the future of the company’s cabin crew base at Shannon airport – although with fewer staff.

This had been earmarked for closure as part of the airline’s proposed €74 million cost-containment programme announced last month.

Impact said the new agreement would also substantially reduce the number of proposed job cuts among cabin crew.

However, the deal would involve the introduction of new productivity measures, deferred pay increases and the loss of some posts.

The new deal was reached following negotiations between Aer Lingus and Impact on possible alternatives to the cost-saving proposals put forward by management.

The agreement will be put to ballot over the next fortnight.

Under the new deal, Irish-based staff will continue to operate the Aer Lingus transatlantic routes, while a slimmed-down Shannon base will remain open.

However, pay increases under the new national agreement will be deferred until July 2010, while the payment of increments will be delayed for two years.

Under the agreement new wage scales will also be implemented for any new entrants to the airline.

The company had originally planned to cut 420 cabin crew posts and replace almost all Irish-based long-haul crew with US-based staff.

Under this deal, job losses are reduced to 94 – in addition to a separate reduction of 60 which is due to schedule changes out of Shannon.

Impact official Christina Carney said the package, negotiated with the assistance of the Labour Relations Commission, would be painful for cabin crew.

“This is a tough package for our members to accept, but we are recommending it because it achieves our main aim of minimising job losses and keeping work in the west of Ireland.

”If the deal is accepted, we will certainly expect management to remember these sacrifices when the aviation industry picks up, as it will,” said the Impact official.

The proposals were unanimously backed by Impact’s cabin crew branch committee.

The trade union Siptu is currently carrying out a ballot of its members on an agreement which it reached with the airline last week which averted a threatened strike.

The company wants Siptu to confirm by next Wednesday whether the proposed deal reached is acceptable to its members.

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