Written answers

Thursday, 17 December 2020

Department of Enterprise, Trade and Employment

Aer Lingus

Patricia Ryan (Kildare South, Sinn Fein)
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226. To ask the Minister for Enterprise, Trade and Employment if he will assist workers in an airline (details supplied) who are experiencing difficulties in engaging with the human resources department of the airline regarding payments and entitlements; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [44572/20]

Photo of Leo VaradkarLeo Varadkar (Dublin West, Fine Gael)
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I understand how difficult it must be for Aer Lingus employees facing renegotiations, restructuring and possibly lay-offs. The aviation industry has been devastated by the pandemic and consequently workers in the industry have been severely affected and are facing great uncertainty.

In November, the Government agreed a revised €80 million funding package for Irish aviation. In recognition of the very difficult winter season being faced by the aviation sector the Government decided to provide an extra €48 million in supports for 2021, in addition to those announced in Budget 2021. This year and into 2021 the State will have provided in excess of €180m in supports for the aviation sector.

In terms of the workers' employment rights, the Terms of Employment (Information) Act 1994 provides that an employer must provide their employee with a written statement of the particulars of the employee’s terms of employment. It also provides that an employer must notify the employee of any changes in the particulars given in the statement. Where an employer wishes to change these terms and conditions, further written notification of the change should be provided within one month of the change. The Act provides a right of complaint to the Workplace Relations Commission (WRC) where an employer fails to comply with either of the above

The Payment of Wages Act 1991, amongst other things, protects employees from unlawful deductions from their wages by employers. Non-payment or underpayment of wages has also been deemed to be a deduction from wages for the purposes of the 1991 Act. Where an employee does not receive the wages agreed in their contract of employment or if certain deductions are made from his/her wages by his/her employer, it is open to an employee to make a complaint to an Adjudication Officer of the WRC under the Payment of Wages Act 1991.

Ireland has a very advanced industrial relations framework, which includes the services of the WRC and the Labour Court. For any worker who needs help or advice, the WRC helpline is available at Lo-call: 1890 80 80 90.

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