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17th Jun 2024

Aer Lingus customers warned as pilot strike looking increasingly likely after vote

Simon Kelly

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

Aer Lingus pilots have once again voted overwhelmingly in favour of strike action amid their ongoing pay dispute with the company.

Members of the Irish Airline Pilots’ Association (IALPA) voted 98.82% in favour of taking up industrial action

Pilots already voted in favour of industrial action last week, however the airline questioned the legitimacy of the online vote.

In-person voting opened in Dublin and Cork from Friday until Monday morning and had an 89% turnout.

Just six of the 668 pilots voted against industrial action.

Aer Lingus pilots vote in favour of strike action

Pilots are seeking pay increases of 23.8% over three years and have opted to strike if a deal is not reached.

Aer Lingus have offered an increase of 12.25%, but the large gap between both figures suggests strike action is now inevitable.

Flights will possibly be grounded for weeks if the pilots go ahead with the demonstration and Aer Lingus has called the development “unnecessary and regrettable”.

IALPA president Captain Mark Tighe released a statement on Monday afternoon, saying the result was “an incredible reaffirmation of our mandate for industrial action in pursuit of a meaningful pay offer”.

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

“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.”

He added that the IALPA is now consulting the trade union Fórsa to determine what comes next.

After last week’s initial vote, Angela Walsh, President of the the Irish Travel Agents Association, urged Aer Lingus to consider consumers and to avoid disruptions.

“Any pilot strike over the summer months will cause serious impact for both holidaymakers and corporate travellers, as we are in the busiest travel period of the year, with knock on effects on accommodation reservations and connecting travel,” she said.

Aer Lingus recorded a full-year operating profit of €225 million in 2023, a 400% increase on the year before.