Aer Lingus pilots 'more determined than ever' after 99% vote for strike action

By Cate McCurry, PA

Pilots in Aer Lingus have voted overwhelmingly for strike action in a dispute over pay.

Members of the Irish Airline Pilots’ Association (IALPA), which represents hundreds of pilots at the airline, voted 99 per cent in favour of taking industrial action up to and including full withdrawal of labour.

Turnout for the ballot was 89 per cent.

IALPA conducted a paper ballot over the weekend following Aer Lingus raising concerns about the integrity of the initial electronic ballot.

IALPA president Captain Mark Tighe said the result of the second ballot was “an incredible reaffirmation of our mandate for industrial action in pursuit of a meaningful pay offer”.

He said: “It is unconscionable that an employer would attempt to undermine our members’ democratic and constitutional right to vote for industrial action.

“The effect of Aer Lingus management’s intervention last week has served only to further antagonise pilots. They are now more determined than ever.

“This ballot has reaffirmed the commitment of our members to stand up to management.”

Pilots were able to vote in various polling stations over the weekend.

After the votes were counted on Monday, it was confirmed that 99 per cent voted in favour of taking industrial action.

Captain Tighe added: “Our pay claim of 23.8 per cent is to ensure that pilots’ pay has the same purchasing power as it did in 2019, and reflects the enormous increase in profits enjoyed by Aer Lingus.

“Last year, they reported €225 million profit – an increase of 400 per cent on the previous year.

“Our colleagues in British Airways secured a 24 per cent increase in 2019, while Lufthansa pilots received a 27 per cent increase.”

IALPA said that the union rule book allows for the provision of electronic ballots and the concerns raised by Aer Lingus were “unfounded”.

Captain Tighe continued: “IALPA is now consulting with our colleagues in Fórsa to determine our next steps.”