Pilots at Emerald Airlines, the carrier which holds the regional service franchise for Aer Lingus, have served notice of an escalation of industrial action. The escalation takes effect from tomorrow (Tuesday 25th July).
Emerald Airlines operates regional flights, including the Dublin to Donegal service on behalf of Aer Lingus and other UK regional routes, including Belfast City Airport, trading as Aer Lingus Regional.
The pilots are members of IALPA, the professional association which represents pilots within Ireland, and a branch of Fórsa trade union.
The ongoing industrial action is 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.
The escalation of the industrial action will mean that pilots will not be contactable by the company outside of working hours, and won’t accept changes to their rosters with fewer than 24 hours’ notice.
Fórsa official Ian McDonnell said that the escalation of industrial action is likely to disrupt flight services, and said pilots now had no choice but to step up their action: “Management at the airline have ignored repeated requests to meet with the union and to commence discussions on negotiating a collective agreement.
“Our pilot members have shown enormous flexibility, frequently going above and beyond to ensure the consistency and quality of flight services. These efforts have not been acknowledged or recognised by Emerald.
“Fórsa and IALPA officials remain available for meaningful engagement aimed at resolving the current dispute. I’m urging the employer to engage in discussions. Their refusal to engage has made this action necessary. We’re willing to commence talks with Emerald management at any time. That’s always been our position.
“Without a meaningful engagement, a further escalation of the current action will become inevitable,” he said.
The union said Aer Lingus had pledged to make recognition of the union a condition of the regional franchise deal before it was awarded to Emerald.