Pilots in Aer Lingus who are members of the Irish Air Lines’ Pilots Association (IALPA), a branch of Fórsa trade union, have voted overwhelmingly to reject a pay offer based on the findings of the Aer Lingus Pilot Pay Tribunal.
The ballot saw 98.1% of IALPA members voting to reject the offer, with a turnout of just over 96%.
The result rejects a pay increase of 8.5% (plus a 1.5% ‘unconsolidated’, or once-off and non-pensionable pay measure) over three years recommended by the tribunal, which was chaired by Gerard Durcan SC. The pay increase was dependent upon pilots accepting significant structural change to their pay and conditions.
The finding on pay developed from the first pay claim of its kind since the pandemic effectively grounded the entire aviation industry in 2020. The IALPA executive expressed disappointment with the Tribunal report, and the ballot was issued to members with a recommendation to reject the pay finding.
Captain Mark Tighe, IALPA president, said the pay offer did not reflect the sacrifices made by pilots to sustain the company during the pandemic: “Reduced pay, terms and conditions were accepted by Aer Lingus pilots during the pandemic to help Aer Lingus with its recovery.
“However, Aer Lingus management failed to reverse these measures and return pilots back to their pre-Covid conditions as the company recovered. The airline recently announced bumper profits and has since grown to 105% of pre-Covid capacity.
“IALPA has informed Aer Lingus of the ballot result, and we remain open for talks with the company to negotiate an improved pay offer,” he said.
Captain Tighe said IALPA is now seeking an urgent meeting with management to negotiate a pay deal that returns pilots to pre-pandemic pay, terms and conditions. He said any new pay deal needs to account for the loss of real earnings due to inflation, and bring Aer Lingus pilots’ pay level with those of the airline’s competitors.