Aer Lingus pilots to end strike – The Irish Times

Aer Lingus pilots have halted strike action at the airline as their union leaders backed a 17.75 per cent pay rise offer late on Wednesday night, but some passengers still face cancelled flights until early next week.

Officials from the Irish Airline Pilots Association (Ialpa) have agreed to recommend that their Aer Lingus members vote in favour of the Labour Court-brokered deal to increase pay by 17.75 per cent and immediately lift a law that has disrupted the travel plans of nearly 86,000 passengers.

The union’s decision came after it asked the court for confirmation of key points of the agreement and for clarification from Aer Lingus on concerns raised by officials.

“Following today’s (Wednesday) communication from the Labour Court and further clarification from Aer Lingus, Ialpa met and passed a motion to recommend acceptance of the Labour Court’s recommendation,” the statement said.

Captain Mark Tighe, president of Ialpa, called the pay increase “a significant victory” for pilots.

However, the airline had already cancelled 25 flights on Wednesday until next Monday and Tuesday, as it was unclear whether Ialpa, part of the Fórsa union, would be in a position to support the Labour Court’s proposal. This brought the total number of cancellations since work began on issuing a ruling two weeks ago to 573.

Aer Lingus has welcomed the development, saying: “We look forward to Ialpa completing the voting process as soon as possible.” The company has already accepted the Labour Court’s recommendation, but Ialpa must put it to a vote by its members, which will begin on 18 July and end on 23 July. However, the executive’s decision to back the court’s proposal, which increases pilots’ pay by 17.75 per cent over three years and increases some of their allowances, is likely to sway the majority of members in favour of the deal.

Ialpa representatives will meet with Aer Lingus pilots and organise a vote among its nearly 800 members in the coming days. The union’s work to establish a regulation, which has seen members refuse to work overtime or accept changes in staff, will be suspended during this period.

Taoiseach Simon Harris welcomed Ialpa’s recommendation to accept the Employment Tribunal’s proposal. In a statement, the Fine Gael leader described it as “a very positive development for the travelling public and our tourism sector”.

The union had called for pay rises of more than 20 percent to compensate pilots for inflation, but said it had moderated its stance during talks with the company. Aer Lingus and Ialpa appeared before the Labour Court for more than three hours last Wednesday and more than nine hours the previous Monday.

The tribunal issued its recommendation this week. It proposes that Aer Lingus increase pilot pay by 17.75 percent over three years, starting with a 2 percent increase retroactive to January of last year and concluding with a final 1 percent increase to take effect on July 1, 2026.

There are eight payments in total, four of which are retroactive, which will allow them to have 10.75 percent at the end of this year, and the remaining 7 percent between next January and July 2026.

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