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Row over Aer Lingus takeover proposals

Row over Aer Lingus takeover proposals

NewsBy Kevin Palmer
Aer Lingus takeover rumours spark debate

A row has broken out at Aer

Lingus after a senior figure representing the airlines workforce suggested that staff were broadly in favour of the IAG bid for the airline.

Central Representative Council secretary Myles Worth made the claims that the tide was swinging in favour of a take-over in an RTE interview, as he suggested staff would be keen for the take-over to proceed, but a number of unions moved to disassociate themselves from the comments.

Aer Lingus’s board recommended the €1.4bn (£1bn) offer from International Airline Group last month, subject to the Irish state selling its 25% stake, but political and trade union opposition has been significant.

The airline's central representative council (CRC) – a group of staff representatives from the company’s trade unions – said that a sale could have a devastating effect on employment, leading to up to 1,200 job cuts.

Yet it said it had changed its stance after IAG’s Dublin-born chief executive Willie Walsh, who began his career as an Aer Lingus pilot, told a parliamentary committee in Dublin that job cuts would be minimal and be far exceeded by new roles as it expands Aer Lingus’s fleet.

“The danger of this going away is that the company could eventually go into a downward spin and who knows going forward what would happen if that was the case,” CRC secretary Myles Worth told RTE.

“There doesn’t seem an immediate threat to the company, but if this bid was to fail and the share price goes down, there’s a likelihood that the new CEO would have to put together a very aggressive cost-cutting plan.”

However, a spokesman for the Irish Congress of Trade Union, which also represents workers, said it was "surprised" by Mr Worth's comments and it remained "unconvinced" by any proposed sale.

Since the IAG bid was mooted before Christmas, unions have voiced serious concerns about it, particularly regarding jobs and connectivity.

IMPACT, which represents over 1,700 employees including pilots and cabin crew, has written to incoming Chief Executive Steven Kavanagh saying Mr Worth's comments were not authorised by the union.

"The union still asserts that this takeover is bad for Aer Lingus staff, threatens their jobs, and the connectivity assurances stated publicly are bad for Ireland," said IMPACT National Secretary Matt Staunton.

It is understood that the Irish Airline Pilots' Association has also disassociated itself from Mr Worth's remarks.

SIPTU said it has not yet adopted a position pending clarification of assurances on direct employment and connectivity and unions are due to meet management later this week.

Original Source