Shannon strike averted but Heathrow flight cancelled

Mike Dwane


Mike Dwane

Two Limerick men have been charged in connection with a drugs seizure at Shannon Airport
A HIGH Court decision that averts an industrial action at the state airports this Friday morning has come too late for some passengers at Shannon.

A HIGH Court decision that averts an industrial action at the state airports this Friday morning has come too late for some passengers at Shannon.

The morning Aer Lingus flight to Heathrow has been cancelled after the airline said the “damage had already been done” ahead of an application by the DAA for an injunction against the planned Siptu strike.

Other flights scheduled to arrive or depart Shannon between the hours of 5am and 9am this Friday may also have to be rearranged, including

an Aer Lingus departure for Manchester, a Ryanair depature for London Stansted and United flights to and from Newark.

A spokesman for Shannon said passengers intending to fly this Friday should contact their airline in advance.

This Wednesday, Mr Justice Paul Gilligan granted an injunction to Ryanair and the DAA to prevent Siptu from going ahead with a planned four-hour work stoppage relating to a bitter pensions dispute.

It is understood that the decision is also binding on Siptu staff at Shannon, who had served notice of industrial action on management there. Shannon Airport Authority had also warned it would be seeking interlocutory relief if Siptu failed to withdraw its notice of industrial action, which according to management was contrary to the provisions of the Industrial Relations Act 1990.

In its submissions to the High Court, both Ryanair and DAA had argued the proposed action was “not a valid trade dispute” under that legislation and that the stoppage would wreak havoc ahead of St Patrick’s weekend, the busiest of the year to date at airports.

Siptu had argued that the proposed stoppages were part of a “bona fide trade dispute” concerning a €780 million deficit in the Irish Airlines Superannuation Scheme, which includes Siptu staff and pensioners at Shannon, the DAA and Aer Lingus.

But Mr Justice Gilligan this Wednesday ruled in favour of the employers, granting them an injunction pending an outcome of a full hearing of the dispute.

An “overwhelming” majority of Siptu staff at Shannon had voted in favour of industrial action, the union said at the time the ballot was passed.

A government intervention last week saw the creation of an expert panel in a fresh effort to broker a deal between the two sides.

Minister for Transport Leo Varadkar had expressed his displeasure that Siptu had not called off the strike while indicating it was willing to engage with the expert panel.

Siptu has underlined it commitment to the new negotiations.

Siptu sector organiser Dermot O’Loughlin said: “The pension committees very much welcome the appointment of the expert panel which was nominated by Congress (ICTU) and IBEC.

“Siptu representatives will enter into discussions with the expert panel over the coming weeks with the aim of finding a resolution to this dispute.”