We, the members of the Irish Airline Pilots Association insist that Aer Lingus recruit their Belfast-based pilots in Dublin. These new pilots will be hired on under the collective agreement which Aer Lingus has established with its Republic-based pilots.
Aer Lingus says no.
We demand that any disputes that arise amongst the Belfast fly boys be resolved in Dublin, and are negotiated in keeping with Irish law. The hub in Belfast should be operated under Northern Ireland's laws, but as they are different than Republic law, we want the latter.
Aer Lingus says no.
In addition, we the pilots want the current seniority list to apply to positions in Belfast, so that the current senior pilots would still be top of the heap should they choose to go to Belfast. All pilots flying for Aer Lingus out of Belfast must be covered by the existing pension scheme, no changing around to a new plan for new recruits.
Aer Lingus says no. No to a batch of ideas that fly in the face of market rules, which dictate a leaner and meaner corporation. No to an "unwieldy, costly, protectionist" system of seniority. No to the pilot's union making business decisions for Aer Lingus when all their notions would hamstring the airline. No to ongoing inefficiency that threatens to kill the airline.
Aer Lingus is battling competition that sports lower costs, which are passed on to the clients in the form of cut-rate fares. Mr. Dermot Mannion is operating Aer Lingus like a business, making financial decisions that are aimed at keeping the planes aloft. The Irish government, with its 25% stake, has decided not to spook investors and has taken a hands-off approach to Aer Lingus's decision to pull out of Shannon for cheaper pastures in the north.
Aer Lingus used to be state-run airline that suffered at the hands of politicians. Now it is free to make its way in a brutal, unforgiving world, and Mr. Mannion has only to look at the state of United Airlines to see where his company might be headed if he doesn't put a stop to it.
The Irish Airline Pilots union is going to consider Mr. Mannion's response to their demands. While they're at it, they might try convincing their non-union colleagues at the discount airlines to demand more. That's one way to level the playing field.