Stitch and Bear

A long-running Irish blog with reviews of the best restaurants in Dublin and throughout Ireland. Some wine and cocktails thrown in for good measure!

Thursday, October 2, 2008

Aer Lingus and Trade Unions

I am currently in the middle of a love-hate relationship with Aer Lingus. It's a bit one-sided as they aren't really aware of the extent of my feelings. But as I'm stuck with them for a while to come, this relationship is only going to develop further. On one hand I like their relaxed style and pleasant crew. On the other hand I despise their tardiness and lack of apology for said tardiness.

For those who don't know, Aer Lingus is an Irish airline. Once upon a time, it was state-owned but is now only partially owned by the Irish Government and is quoted on the Dublin and London stock exchanges. Their aggressive Irish competitor, Ryanair, controversially own a stake in Aer Lingus which is slightly less than that of the Irish Goverment.

Aer Lingus is now operating mainly in the budget carrier arena and as such is trying to operate leanly. There is a current initiative to save €100 million through cost-cutting but Aer Lingus suffers from one main problem - the legacy of the trade unions. The trade unions involved at Aer Lingus have not woken up to the fact that the world has changed in the airline industry and Aer Lingus is no longer a cushy public-sector job. Today they announced that they would oppose management cost-cutting plans whereby jobs would be outsourced.

I have sympathy for people trying to protect their jobs and their livelihood. But the face of air travel has changed, and so must the mindset of people working in the industry. The recent collapse (and near collapse) of airlines such as Alitalia, XL and Silverjet show that there is very little room for sentimentality.

It's time for the trade unions at Aer Lingus to stop living in the past. Yes, be praoactive and keep what jobs you can in Ireland. But don't put the whole airline in jeopardy.

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