Aer Lingus trade unions split over IAG offer
DUBLIN (Reuters) - Aer Lingus's two main trade unions have not softened their opposition to a takeover approach by International Consolidated Airlines Group (IAG), they said on Monday after a senior
union official at the Irish airline said he backed the bid.
Myles Worth, secretary of Aer Lingus's Central Representative Council (CRC) -- a grouping of staff representatives from the company's trade unions -- dropped his opposition on Sunday in an apparent boost to the owner of British Airways.
However the SIPTU and IMPACT trade unions, whose members sit on the CRC, said that Worth was speaking in a personal capacity and that their position is unchanged ahead of talks with executives from IAG later on Monday.
"Anybody who wants to know the SIPTU view, all they have to do is look at everything we've said since day one. Until and unless clear and tangible guarantees can be given, there is nothing for the government to consider," SIPTU Divisional Organiser Owen Reidy told the Newstalk radio station.
A spokesman for IMPACT said it still had very grave concerns about job losses and connectivity, adding that no inter-union consultation had taken place, so suggestions that they had softened their stance were incorrect.
The Aer Lingus board recommended the 1.36 billion euro (997 million pounds) offer from IAG last month, subject to the Irish state selling its 25 percent stake, but political and trade union opposition has been significant.
In an attempt to soothe concerns, IAG has pledged to maintain key landing and take-off rights at London's Heathrow airport for its Irish routes for five years while it has said job cuts would be minimal and be far exceeded by new roles as it expands.
Irish political resistance is especially strong among members of the Labour Party, the government's junior coalition partner, ahead of tough elections next year and a junior minister from the party remained sceptical on Monday.
"I am more assured post his intervention," Sean Sherlock told Newstalk, referring to Walsh's appearance at a parliamentary committee 10 days ago. "But I still remain doubtful until we see how the guarantee will bear fruit."
($1 = 0.8832 euros)
(Reporting by Padraic Halpin; Editing by David Goodman)