Staff unsure plans will fly at Shannon hub

Anne Sheridan

Reporter:

Anne Sheridan

TWO HUNDRED SIPTU members at Shannon Airport have been balloted for industrial action due to concerns about their jobs as the airport prepares to separate from the Dublin Airport Authority (DAA) by the end of this month.

TWO HUNDRED SIPTU members at Shannon Airport have been balloted for industrial action due to concerns about their jobs as the airport prepares to separate from the Dublin Airport Authority (DAA) by the end of this month.

The result of the ballot is due this weekend, but staff at the airport are reassuring workers that their terms and conditions of employment, as well as pension rights, will be protected in the transfer. Siptu organiser Tony Carroll said workers “have a lot of concerns over separation”, and he described the jobs and passenger targets in the new plan for Shannon as “wishful thinking”.

However, Denis Brosnan, chairman of the Mid-West Task Force, who recommended that Shannon be split from the DAA said the fears are unfounded. “There is always nervousness around change but if anything staff future is far more secure under an independent Shannon from the DAA,” said Mr Brosnan.

Passenger numbers at Shannon climbed to 3.6 million in 2009, but dropped to 1.6 million last year. Rose Hynes, chair of the aviation business development task force, said they plan to increase passenger numbers to 2.5 million over a five-year period, which is “not overly ambitious”.

The Shannon town plan, the first stand alone town plan for Shannon, was also launched this week. Over six years it aims to nearly double the area’s population to 11,972, and create an aviation services hub at Shannon airport by zoning a 2000-acre landbank around the airport.