SIPTU Union's Civil Aviation Branch, representing Aer Arann's engineers, stated it is set to serve notice of industrial action on the airline after claiming that up to 50 workers are being instructed to work extra nights for no additional reward and following a minimum 7% pay reduction (Irish Independent, 17-Mar-2010). The union claims that the engineers' night allowance of EUR1,500 p/a is one of the lowest rates in the aviation industry; it argues the increased workload has occurred due to extra work and new shift arrangements as a result of a new franchise agreement between Aer Lingus and Aer Arann, branded as Aer Lingus Regional, and operated using Aer Arann aircraft and crew. In a separate dispute, a union for 230 cabin crew at Aer Lingus who face compulsory redundancy has revealed it is not considering a ballot for industrial action at the present time.
Aer Arann engineers threaten industrial action over extra night work requirements
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Europe's aviation strike spike could signal a cyclical peak - with downturn to follow
One swallow does not make a spring and nor does a rash of aviation strike news guarantee a turning point for the aviation industry. But the signs are ominous. In the month of Jun-2016 (to 20-Jun-2016), there have been 136 articles on CAPA's website mentioning the word 'strike'. This compares with 81 for the first 20 days of Jun-2015. For 2016 so far (1-Jan-2016 to 20-Jun-2016), the 's' word has occurred in 594 articles – about 20% more than in the same period in each of the past two years. If this rate continues, 2016 could be the biggest year for strike-related articles since before the global financial crisis.
The vast majority of the Jun-2016 articles – 80% – relate to Europe. A significant source is air traffic control disputes, particularly French ATC. There have also been strikes and/or strike threats involving airport workers and ground handlers. Among European airlines, Air France has generated the most coverage for its ongoing dispute with its pilots, and it may also face a cabin crew strike. Lufthansa has not yet faced a strike by its employees this year, but has not yet reached new agreements with pilots or cabin crew after industrial action last year.
History tells us that labour's demands grow as profits rise. The apparent increase in industrial action this year could be a signal of an approaching peak in the airline profit cycle. There are other causes of unrest, such as impending French labour legislation, but the correlation reflects some history.