Written answers

Wednesday, 29 July 2020

Department of Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation

Aviation Industry

Photo of Martin BrowneMartin Browne (Tipperary, Sinn Fein)
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99. To ask the Minister for Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation his views on the crisis facing workers at an airline (details supplied) in terms of redundancies and job cuts; if he is considering measures to resolve the situation; if he has been in contact with management of the company in relation to the issue since workers voted; if he has spoken to workers and unions since then; if so, the outcome of the contacts; if an attempt was made by him to intervene in the matter; if his attention has been drawn to the impact the decision the company will have on families and localities; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [19389/20]

Photo of Leo VaradkarLeo Varadkar (Dublin West, Fine Gael)
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I was sorry to hear Aer Lingus announce their intention to restructure the business in the wake of the Covid-19 crisis.  I fully understand the difficulties this may bring to workers, their families and their localities, during an already difficult period.  The aviation industry will be one of the most affected by this crisis and will need to alter its operations to confront the enormous challenges faced by it. 

I hope that any restructuring of Aer Lingus will be temporary in nature and that all parties will engage in meaningful negotiations in order to achieve the best outcomes for employees and the long-term success of the business. 

I would encourage parties wishing to negotiate in an independent and impartial manner to avail of the industrial relations services of the Workplace Relations Commission (WRC) which is an office of my Department.   

It is important to be clear that any industrial relations mechanism is voluntary and confidential to the parties involved.  As part of its functions the WRC also provides information relating to employment entitlements/obligations and industrial relations matters by means of their telephone service. This service is manned by experienced Information Officers. The service may be contacted at Lo-call: 1890 80 80 90 and at 059 917 89 90. Further information on employment rights generally can also be accessed at the WRC’s website https://www.workplacerelations.ie/en 

More generally, I recognise that this is a most challenging time for employees of Aer Lingus.  Across Government, in order to assist businesses and protect employment, we have put in place a comprehensive suite of supports for companies which includes the wage subsidy scheme, grants, low-cost loans and deferred tax liabilities. These supports are designed to build confidence, to further assist businesses in terms of the management of their companies and to allow them to begin looking to the future.

I have not had direct contact with the company, but my colleague, Eamon Ryan, T.D., Minister for Climate Action, Communication Networks and Transport, has primary responsibility for the aviation sector and he may be able to provide a more specific response to your query.


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