Emerald Airlines pilots serve notice of industrial action

Pilots at Emerald Airlines, the carrier which holds the regional franchise for Aer Lingus, have today served notice of industrial action on the airline in response to an ongoing trade dispute. Amopng the routes serviced by the airline is the Donegal Dublin service.

It will begin as a work to rule, with pilots reserving the right to escalate the action in the future.

The pilots are members of IALPA, the professional association which represents pilots within Ireland, and a branch of Fórsa trade union.

In a joint statement, IALPA and Forsa say Members voted overwhelmingly in favour of industrial action, over 82%, in a dispute over the airline’s failure to engage with IALPA on forming a collective labour agreement for pilots employed at Emerald, despite continuing efforts by the union.

The pilots will engage in action from Saturday 24th June, commencing with a rolling and strict work to rule, which includes not working off days, no overtime and not working other out of hour’s duties. The union has advised Emerald Airlines that it reserves the right to escalate the industrial action and will provide them of the required notice of same should this occur.

IALPA officer Daniel Langan said pilots were surprised at Emerald’s refusal to engage with the union.

“Other airlines that previously refused to engage with unions are now happy to negotiate with them to achieve the certainty and stability of a collective labour agreement. Emerald’s position suggests it’s currently out of touch on how best to sustainably establish terms and conditions for its employees in a highly competitive labour market. The employer’ refusal to engage is why this action is now necessary,” he said.

Fórsa official Ian McDonnell said that pilots within the airline have repeatedly shown great flexibility to keep aircrafts flying by working their days off to ensure flights were not cancelled.

“This flexibility is not recognised by the management team and pilots are now withdrawing their flexibility of working on their days off to accommodate the airlines staffing issues as an official work to rule,” he said.

Ian stressed that the union remains available for meaningful and solution-focused engagement.

“Fórsa and IALPA representatives are willing to commence talks with Emerald management. Unfortunately, Emerald management have ignored repeated requests to meet with an aim to commence discussion on negotiating a collection agreement for pilots in the airline and we have been left with no other option than to escalate this dispute. Emerald airlines are out of step with the other commercial Irish airlines who do recognise and negotiate with trade unions such as Aer Lingus and Ryanair.” he said.

Emerald Airlines operates regional flights, including the public service obligation Dublin to Donegal service on behalf of Aer Lingus. Emerald also operates UK provincial routes including Bristol, Birmingham and Edinburgh, trading as Aer Lingus Regional.