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Aer Lingus Gives Nod to Labor Settlement

Airlines: Proposed deal from Ireland's Labor Relations Commission follows pilots' strike that grounded all flights.

June 03, 2002|From Associated Press

DUBLIN — The management of Aer Lingus Group on Sunday said it would accept a proposal meant to end a labor standoff that has grounded the carrier's entire fleet.

The pilots union did not immediately respond to the plan offered by Ireland's Labor Relations Commission, which is trying to help end the bitter and costly dispute.

A one-day strike by pilots on Thursday over changes to their working hours has escalated, and Aer Lingus canceled all flights until Tuesday at the earliest.

The airline is losing $1.9 million every day the fleet is grounded and more than 100,000 travelers have been affected by the cancellations.

Trade union Siptu, representing ground staff, has warned that the dispute could destroy the airline, and tourism and business executives have issued dire warnings for Ireland's economy.

Airline management and the pilots union agreed Sunday to receive recommendations from the labor commission after a hearing in Dublin's Labor Court ended in the early hours.

"Having considered the recommendation in full, Aer Lingus has indicated its acceptance to the court that implementation of this recommendation will meet in full the objectives of the survival plan," the airline said in a statement.

The pilots union made no immediate comment, and a call to the union's office went unanswered.

News reports said the proposed settlement included limits on the number of times the airline could order pilots to fly after rest periods of only 10 hours and also contained other rules on days off, early duty and in-flight rest.

The proposal reportedly required the pilots to accept other elements of the airline's survival plan. The airline, like most others, suffered heavy financial losses after the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks.

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