Aer Lingus pilots will not escalate strike as both sides agree to Monday meeting

Aer Lingus pilots have decided not to escalate their industrial action as both sides have agreed to attend the Labour Court on Monday.

A further 122 flights have been cancelled next week as the bitter industrial dispute rumbles on, causing disruption to thousands of passengers.

The pilots union was in the middle of discussing whether to escalate their industrial action when the invite to a meeting at the Labour Court was issued.

The airline’s management accepted the invitation, as has Forsa, a parent union of the pilots group Ialpa.

Ialpa president Captain Mark Tighe said the executive meeting had formally accepted the invite to the Labour Court at 2.30pm on Monday.

He said he was not aware if the meeting would be in the same room as Aer Lingus management.

Hundreds of pilots are expected to attend the strike at Aer Lingus’ management offices on Saturday, which starts at 5am.

The strike and an indefinite work-to-rule action has resulted in more than 270 flights being cancelled, affecting thousands of passengers.

The additional cancellations bring the total to almost 400.

Aer Lingus said those services, from Wednesday July 3 and Sunday July 7 inclusive, were being made to “protect as many services as possible”.

“These cancellations will be implemented today, and details will be communicated to impacted customers. Details of the services impacted are set out on the Travel Advisory page of,” it said.

“These customers will be given the option to change their flights for free, to claim a refund or voucher.

“Aer Lingus fully understands the anxiety being experienced by customers given the uncertainty caused by Ialpa’s industrial action and is giving impacted customers as many options as possible.”

Representatives from Aer Lingus and Ialpa had met for negotiations aimed at resolving the bitter dispute on Thursday but after five hours of intensive talks both sides emerged saying they had not reached an agreement.

Ialpa said that chances of an additional strike were high after talks broke down.

The work-to-rule began on Wednesday, with pilots refusing to work overtime, accept changes to set rosters or take on out-of-hours management requests.

Mr Tighe said he had told the company on Thursday that they were willing to discuss figures below their request of 24%.

“The reply to that from the company was that they were not willing to move from their position, that anything over and above 12.25% would be funded through productivity,” he said.

Asked about his mandate to discuss productivity, Mr Tighe said: “The company has said we don’t have a mandate to discuss productivity and we should go get one. The correct statement is, our mandate is not to discuss productivity. Our membership is clear.”

Asked if there will need to be further weeks of flight cancellations before there is a resolution, Mr Tighe said that the union is exercising their workers’ rights and the company is “digging in”.

Minister for Enterprise Peter Burke said: “I would appeal, in the most strongest terms, to both sides of this dispute to get around the table, work out their differences because every single industrial relations dispute is resolved.

“And it is resolved through compromise.”

Aer Lingus has said it is willing to offer pay increases of 12.25% or above if “improvements in productivity and flexibility” are discussed.

Chief corporate affairs officer Donal Moriarty said on Thursday that the airline “engaged constructively” in discussions with Ialpa and Forsa.