Internal restructuring
Location of affected unit(s)
Dublin Shannon
Transportation / Storage
Land, Water And Air Transportation
Air Transport
51 - Air transport

211 jobs
Number of planned job losses
Job loss
Announcement Date
4 December 2008
Employment effect (start)
9 December 2008
Foreseen end date


Irish airline Aer Lingus, which has been facing a renewed buy-out bid from Ryanair, its largest shareholder, and is experiencing intense competitive pressures, has concluded two related major restructuring agreements with its two trade unions, after cabin crew followed colleagues on the ground in backing their part of a major cost reduction plan. As of December 2008, 211 job cuts have been announced.  

The IMPACT union, which represents most cabin crew, had indicated that the proposed package would be tough for the 1,500 members of its cabin crew branch to accept, but said it had recommended the deal on the basis that it would “minimise job losses and keep the Shannon base open”. The deal also means the scrapping of an original plan by the company to outsource jobs on three transatlantic routes. The other union, SIPTU, representing ground crew, welcomed their result “as the first step towards preventing the outsourcing of over 1,300 jobs and securing the long term viability of Aer Lingus.”

The cabin crew restructuring deal is quite different to the one agreed between the airline and SIPTU ground staff, as it does not involve the novel ‘leave and return’ option, which a majority of SIPTU members have decided to go for. It is understood that a significant number of ground operation staff have opted for a leave-and-return scheme, under which they would receive a redundancy package and subsequently reapply for positions at the company on inferior terms and conditions. The success of the deal was conditional on about 50 per cent of ground operations employees, represented by Siptu, opting for the leave-and-return option. Meanwhile, the cabin crew agreement entails significant changes in work practices, and the loss of certain allowances – as well as a new lower entry rate and grade.

Staff were also offered the option of leaving the company permanently under an early retirement or voluntary redundancy programme. The result would appear to be up to 96 voluntary redundancies, although the number of volunteers may eventually be much higher than this target. Like the SIPTU deal, which involves around 115 voluntary redundancies, the IMPACT agreement also includes a pay freeze until July of 2010.

Those staff remaining on existing terms and conditions would have to work under a different work practice regime.

For more information, see EIRO report.



Eurofound (2008), Aer Lingus, Internal restructuring in Ireland, factsheet number 67619, European Restructuring Monitor. Dublin, https://restructuringeventsprod.azurewebsites.net/restructuring-events/detail/67619.