Developments in the aviation industry continue to illustrate the hard hitting effect of the Covid-19 crisis.
As various companies in aviation continue to develop cost-saving and contingency measures, Fórsa officials continue to talk to employers about optimum measures to protect jobs.
Discussions between unions and management at the Dublin Airport Authority (DAA) last week are described as constructive and continue this week. Fórsa official Johnny Fox reports that discussions outlined the issues in relation to passenger numbers and DAA’s analysis of developments. “All parties have agreed to work together over the next week to bring certainty in relation to members pay.
“The focus of the unions is to maintain members earnings throughout the duration of the crisis and that the company must use all the financial resources available to support workers,” he said.
Shannon Airport Authority looks set to implement a three-day week from Sunday 30th March as flights reduce in frequency and uncertainty about when the crisis will end continues. With the Government expected to unveil a revised employee assistance scheme (see below), unions have written to Shannon Airport Authority management seeking to further discuss the issue of working arrangements during the crisis.
Tiger team quarantine
Johnny reports that the Irish Aviation Authority (IAA) has no plans to cut pay or lay off staff, despite having no current income due to the reduction in flights.
Fórsa represents the IAA’s air traffic controllers, engineers and maritime radio officers who are currently in a 14-day quarantine in preparation to join “tiger teams”. These teams will go into lock down in the control towers for three-week periods, working, eating and sleeping on site on a 24/7 basis.
Last week’s announcements on temporary pay measures at Aer Lingus also affect members of Fórsa’s IAESA branch, which represents management grades, IT technicians, professional and admin grades at the airline.
Similar measures were announced by Ryanair last Friday, though more details about this have been sought by the union.
Key to much of the discussions between Fórsa and the various employers in the industry is to ensure they can keep staff on payroll so that flight services can be restored as quickly as possible in the aftermath of the crisis.
The Aer Lingus’ regional carrier Stobart Air has also announced a stop to all international flights due to the drop in demand as a result of the Covid-19 outbreak. The airline will operate a reduced schedule from Dublin to Edinburgh and Glasgow this week, before temporarily suspending all international flight operations up to Saturday 28th March until further notice.
Fórsa official Ashley Connolly said the union was awaiting details on Stobart’s personnel planning, but said Stobart, like other airlines, was looking at the best way to keep staff on payroll in anticipation of normal services resuming in the months ahead.
Ashley said a key component here will be the revised employee assistance measures the Government is expected to announce shortly (see below). Stobart will continue to fly to Kerry and Donegal as part of its public service obligations.