Aer Lingus has announced that it will permanently close its Shannon cabin crew base and lay off Cork crew for three months.
The 81 cabin crew in the Shannon base will have the options of enhanced severance terms or base transfer to Dublin where possible, according to The Irish Examiner.
The 45 Shannon-based ground crew will continue to be laid off.
Between September 12th and November 22nd, 198 Cork-based staff are to be temporarily laid off without pay – 60 ground staff and 138 cabin crew.
Cork Airport will be closed between these dates to facilitate a complete upgrade of its main runway.
The company has notified the Government that all of its Shannon-based crew are “in scope for redundancy” and is seeking to reduce the Cork headcount by 10.
Aer Lingus has warned of possible further lay-offs after it lost €103 million in the first three months of 2021. This is on top of a €361 million loss in 2020.
As the airline seeks to rebuild its financial health, it announced a review of ground handling requirements in both Shannon and Cork airports, the continuation of reduced working hours and associated pay reductions and lay-offs.
A statement from Aer Lingus confirmed it will emerge smaller from the pandemic and there will be a requirement for redundancies.
Discussions have begun with unions representing Aer Lingus employees.
Fórsa said this afternoon's announcements are devastating for employees based in Shannon and Cork and called on the airline to prioritise redeployment over redundancy.
Ashley Connolly, head of Fórsa's service and enterprise division called for urgent Government action including a bespoke aviation income support scheme.
Ms Connolly said today’s news might have been avoided if the Government had moved faster to implement supports for the aviation sector and give a clear roadmap on when and how international air travel would resume.
Siptu said the workers involved have been on significantly reduced earnings throughout the pandemic with today's announcement a further blow to them.
“This announcement by Aer Lingus further highlights the fact that the aviation industry will be one of the last sectors of our economy to recover,” said Neil McGowan, Siptu sector organiser.
Mr McGowan said the uncertainty around current wage supports and PUP beyond June is adding to workers' concerns.