Fianna Fáil’s Transport spokesperson Timmy Dooley has welcomed Minister Leo Varadkar’s calls for Aer Lingus to drop its case against SIPTU for damages following the recent High Court case over the threatened strike at the country’s three main airports.

The Court granted an injunction to prevent the work stoppage from proceeding last Friday.  However, the airline is now taking a case against the union for revenue lost as a result of last week’s threatened action.

“This latest move by Aer Lingus will do nothing to improve relations between the airline and the union, and risks further exacerbating the tension between the two sides.  I would also urge the company to drop the action.  The decision to sue the union for damages is ill-advised and unhelpfully confrontational.  The company’s new macho stance achieves nothing, and could jeopardise future dealings between management and SIPTU”, commented Deputy Dooley.

“Minister Varadkar has already indicated that he’s unhappy with the company’s stance; however, he needs to go further.  The Minister is not a by-stander in this situation; he is a shareholder in the company and can use his influence to stop this legal action.  His priority should be to use his position as a major shareholder to steer the company towards improving relations with the union and trying to find a sustainable path forward. 

“While I welcome his latest intervention, it is my view that Minister Varadkar has been too hands-off when it comes to industrial disputes within his area, and only seems to intervene at the last minute.  Over the past 12 months we have seen disputes at Dublin Bus, Bus Eireann and Aer Lingus escalate and impact passengers, while possible action at Irish Rail is still looming. The Minister needs to take a much more hands-on approach to deteriorating industrial relations and get involved earlier to try to prevent unnecessary escalation”.