American tourists to Ireland can breathe a sigh of relief as threatened strike action by Aer Lingus cabin crew for next week has been averted.
Up to 80,000 travelers will now face no disruption after two days of planned industrial action next week by Aer Lingus staff were called off.
Tens of thousands of passengers, including many from the United States, were facing travel mayhem over two scheduled 24-hour strikes by a union representing cabin crew workers next Monday and next Wednesday.
But yesterday (Wed) it was confirmed that strike action has been put on hold after the workers' union, IMPACT, accepted a Labor Court request to halt industrial action.
In a bulletin notice to its members, branch chairperson Angela McNeela said: "The cabin crew executive has agreed, following a request from the Labor Court, that the strike action planned next week (Monday, June 16 and Wednesday, June 18) will be deferred to allow consideration of an interim recommendation."
Passengers had been in limbo as the Irish airline waited to see if an eleventh-hour intervention by the court would avert the work stoppages.
A row over cabin crew rosters had previously caused chaos for almost 30,000 passengers at three Irish airports – Dublin, Cork and Shannon – when staff staged pickets over a recent holiday weekend.
In an attempt to resolve the dispute, the Labour Court invited the parties to participate in a resolution process over the staff rosters dispute.
Cabin crew announced the planned strikes after negotiations with management on a 'five days on, three days off' working arrangement fell apart. They have demanded fixed-pattern rosters, because, they say, the current system is "exhausting" and "erratic."
The Irish Independent notes that Aer Lingus Director of Communications, Declan Kearney, said air passengers did not deserve to be held to ransom by threatened industrial action.
Asked whether the company was prepared to restore the cabin crew entitlement to cheap flights in return for the strikes being called off, he stressed that they were not prepared to negotiate in public, but added that the issue was being considered by the Labor Court.
IMPACT Assistant General Secretary Michael Landers claimed that the cabin crew had received support from the public while on strike and criticized the carrier for failing to engage in talks with members until the union had threatened industrial action.