Aer Lingus passengers face further strike action this summer after a cabin crew walk-out grounded hundreds of flights on Friday and cost the airline millions of dollars.
The Impact trade union has warned travelers that more industrial action will affect flights in the coming weeks in a row over rosters.
Air hostesses and stewards told the Irish Independent that they had ‘no choice’ but to strike as they manned the picket lines at Dublin Airport.
Industrial action at Shannon and Cork also saw flights canceled and 30,000 travelers disrupted.
The paper reports that the airline and the union are ‘no closer’ to a resolution after the 24 hour strike action.
Ryanair boss Michael O’Leary, whose company is the biggest shareholder in Aer Lingus, slammed the strikers.
O’Leary said: “The semi-state mentality at Aer Lingus stinks. Picketing cabin crew members are not being treated like Siberian salt miners.
“These cabin crew workers are not pilots, they don’t do the same job. These strikes are threatened three or four times a year, holding the public to ransom.”
A spokesman for Aer Lingus said: “The action unwarranted and an extremely unfair imposition on the traveling public.”
But the Impact trade union has warned that more strikes are ‘inevitable’ if the current system of rosters for Aer Lingus workers is not changed.
The paper says cabin crews are demanding a fixed pattern ‘five days on, three days off’ roster similar to that operated by Aer Lingus pilots.
The airline says such a system is unworkable and would result in more than 300 job losses.
Striking workers at Dublin Airport presented a letter addressed to Aer Lingus chief executive Christoph Mueller.
It said: “Today, we’re engaged in this industrial action because our experience has been that our employer won’t listen to us. For three years we have raised concerns about the erratic nature of our rosters.
“The fixed roster pattern we’re proposing will also allow for cabin crew to keep within the EU regulations on duty and block hours, without any necessity for standing crew down for long periods when those limits are reached.”
Niall Shanahan told the Irish Independent that workers had opted to strike ‘with great regret’.
Speaking ahead of a meeting with Aer Lingus management next week, he said:
“The union is treating talks with the airline with cautious optimism.
“There will be more strike action if management do not show serious intent to address cabin crew concerns.
“Workers aren’t looking for additional time off. They’re looking to work the same hours but in a more sustainable way.
“If it gets to a point where the company just cannot move beyond where they are now, further industrial action will be inevitable.”