Aer Lingus passengers could face chaos over the Christmas holidays as workers at the airline threaten to go on strike.

A dispute over pensions at the Irish national carrier has led to the threat of industrial action in November and December.

Talks between the airline and its main unions have now collapsed with a strike seemingly inevitable according to union leaders.

SIPTU organiser Dermot O’Loughlin told the Irish Independent: “Industrial action is now inevitable over the $1billion deficit in the Aer Lingus/ Dublin Airport Authority pension scheme.

“Officials from SIPTU representing ground staff and the IMPACT trade union, representing cabin crew, will meet with workplace representatives at lunchtime on Tuesday.

“We will serve notice of industrial action and outline what form the action will take.

“This could cause severe disruption to Aer Lingus passengers at Dublin, Cork and Shannon airports in the coming weeks, starting in early November.

“This is going to be a serious industrial dispute. The action will be ongoing in the lead-up to and including Christmas. It’s going to be ongoing until this issue is resolved.”

The paper reports that the action is likely to take the form of a series of work stoppages ranging from one hour to 24-hour-long work stoppages.

The IMPACT trade union also said its members are prepared to down tools as well until the dispute is resolved.

Aer Lingus management said in a statement: “We continue to seek to achieve a fair outcome that improves the pension prospects of affected IASS members in a way that will balance the interests of all parties, including shareholders.

“Aer Lingus remains available to resume discussions with the union groups in order to reach a solution and believes that the LRC is the appropriate forum in which to achieve this solution.”

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