Union accuses DAA of ‘series of U-turns’ in dispute

DAA has threatened legal proceedings against Unite over potential strike

Craft workers have accused Dublin Airport operator DAA of "a series of U-turns" in a dispute that could prompt a strike at the country's biggest gateway.

State-owned DAA last week threatened legal proceedings against trade union Unite over a potential strike. The union is planning to ballot craft worker members at Dublin Airport on industrial action over plans to outsource maintenance work.

Unite regional officer Willie Quigley on Sunday responded to what he called "concerning and misleading" correspondence from the DAA following the union's decision to ballot members .

He said that in a "series of U-turns" DAA repudiated a Labour Court recommendation to which it had agreed, withdrew proposals made in talks on work practice changes and refused to engage on the dispute's main issues.


Unite recently confirmed that members had voted to accept a Labour Court recommendation on the work practice changes in which the dispute is ultimately rooted.

This included giving members access to voluntary severance deals, but the union said the company was not now going to implement the recommendation.

Mr Quigley said that instead the company wanted Unite to discuss outsourcing plans that had not been part of any talks to date.

“Unite was particularly disappointed at the tone of the company’s very concerning and misleading letter of August 25th,” said the union official.

Mr Quigley argued that DAA had repeatedly moved the goalposts in pursuit of its sole aim: to outsource Unite members’ work to third-party companies.

“DAA’s intransigence means that Unite will continue to process the ballot for industrial action, as mandated by our members, and that ballot is proceeding,” he said.


The union official added that the company could resolve the dispute by engaging with Unite in accordance with its obligations under dispute resolution procedures and by implementing the Labour Court recommendation.

DAA has already expressed “grave concern” over Unite’s threat of industrial action, which it says is a breach of existing dispute resolution procedures at Dublin Airport.

Unite and Connect recently said they would ballot members on industrial action over DAA’s plans to outsource maintenance work.

The company said it wanted Unite to acknowledge its obligations to use the dispute-resolution process in place, to advise its members of this and to withdraw the threat of a strike ballot.

Most DAA staff have agreed to work practice changes sought by the company, responsible for Cork and Dublin airports, since Government Covid restrictions hit travel last year.

However, craft workers in Dublin, who maintain key equipment including luggage conveyors, refused. They argued that DAA was using pandemic difficulties as a cover to introduce changes it had wanted long before the virus struck.

DAA did not comment on Mr Quigley’s statement on Sunday.

Barry O'Halloran

Barry O'Halloran

Barry O’Halloran covers energy, construction, insolvency, and gaming and betting, among other areas