Pilots at Aer Lingus Regional issue notice of August bank holiday stoppage


Pilots at Emerald Airlines, the carrier which holds the regional service franchise for Aer Lingus, including flights from Belfast City Airport, have served notice of a 24-hour work stoppage to take place ahead of the August bank holiday weekend.

The pilots are members of IALPA, the professional association which represents pilots within Ireland, and a branch of Fórsa trade union.

Fórsa issued notice of the stoppage today, to commence from midnight on Thursday, August 3, ending midnight Friday, August 4. 

Emerald Airlines operates regional flights, including the Dublin to Donegal service on behalf of Aer Lingus and UK regional routes trading as Aer Lingus Regional. The industrial action will include pickets at Emerald Airlines offices and at the Dublin Airport roundabout, and follows the escalation of a work-to-rule action by pilots earlier this week.

The industrial action is in response to the airline’s failure to engage with IALPA to form a collective labour agreement for pilots employed at the carrier. 

Emerald pilots have been engaged in a strict work-to-rule since June 24. The action includes a refusal to work overtime or out-of-duty hours, while pilots remain uncontactable by the company outside of working hours, and are not accepting changes to their rosters with fewer than 24 hours’ notice.

Fórsa national secretary Katie Morgan said the work stoppage had become unavoidable, and is likely to disrupt flight services as the bank holiday weekend commences next Friday (August 4): “We’ve advised management at Emerald that we reserve the right to review and escalate our industrial action, up to and including an all-out strike. 

“The union nevertheless remains available for meaningful negotiations on pay, pension, terms and conditions of our pilot members. Management at the airline has ignored repeated requests – over a period of months – to meet with the union and to commence discussions on negotiating a collective agreement.”

IALPA vice president Daniel Langan added: “Our pilot members at Emerald have shown enormous flexibility, frequently going above and beyond to ensure the consistency and quality of flight services, and have expressed very clearly their preference for their trade union to negotiate on their behalf.

“Fórsa and IALPA officials remain available for meaningful engagement aimed at resolving the current dispute. We’re willing to commence talks with Emerald management at any time. Without a meaningful engagement, further action will become inevitable.

“It’s disappointing that Emerald Airlines have put pilots and passengers in this position. Every IALPA member hopes management will commence meaningful negotiations with the union in order to avoid any further escalation,” he said.

The union said Aer Lingus has stipulated, in an existing collective agreement with IALPA, that recognition of the union is a condition of entering into a franchise arrangement with the airline, requiring the supplier to engage meaningfully with the union.