Stobart Air dispute could hit Aer Lingus regional services

Fórsa in row with airline over union recognition

A dispute over trade union recognition at Stobart Air could affect Aer Lingus regional flights.

Cabin crew directly employed by Stobart Air, which operates Aer Lingus regional services between the Republic and provincial British airports, are balloting for industrial action.

According to trade union Fórsa the ballot would give them a legal mandate for industrial action should Stobart discipline any staff member for joining the union or taking part in a dispute.

Stobart Air crew are balloting over the airline’s refusal to recognise Fórsa and negotiate with the union on staff pay and working conditions.


Fórsa said that cabin crew rejected recent pay proposal from the company by a margin of two to one as it fell short airline industry norms.

Union official Ashley Connolly maintained that Stobart cabin crew were annoyed at the company’s refusal to deal with the union.

“Management’s refusal to do business in the usual way has left its staff feeling they have no choice but to consider industrial action,” she added.

Stobart refused an offer to have the dispute referred to the Workplace Relations Commission.

‘Collaborative relationship’

Fórsa said that there was “overwhelming staff support” for the union to negotiate on workers’ behalf.

The organisation recently held a number of information meetings for Irish-based crew.

Stobart Air confirmed yesterday that it did not recognise any unions, but said that it had a “collaborative relationship” with staff, including cabin crew.

The company pointed out that it was working with its internal staff body, the Stobart Air Cabin Crew Group (SACG), on a successor to a pay deal agreed in 2016 which ends this year.

“Discussion to put in place a successor agreement has been under way since last year and progressed to a point where the SACG had made a positive recommendation to cabin crew,” the airline said.

“Given this progress, and our ongoing engagement, this sudden development is particularly surprising.”

Stobart added that it remained committed to working with staff to reach a pay deal. Aer Lingus declined to comment on the dispute.

Barry O'Halloran

Barry O'Halloran

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