Aer Lingus face legal challenges

AER LINGUS is facing more legal challenges over its decision to axe its Shannon routes. A Moriarty Tribunal senior counsel has already been retained by opponents of the move and he is expected to front a legal bid to enforce explicit promises the airline gave on its Heathrow slots before it was privatised.

But the airline also faces being taken to the Labour Court over its failure to warn or consult staff in advance of its decision to relocate operations to Belfast.

The European Union’s 2005 consultation and information directive to employers states that all companies must tell their workers in advance of making any decision that has a material impact on their employees.

In addition, the Protection of Employment Act (1997) stipulates that employers must give their employees a month’s notice and they have to consult in advance of any major decisions that are likely to lead to mass redundancies.

A union source said: ‘At the end of the day, an employer can’t just decide it isn’t going to have an office in one part of the country and relocate without consulting staff. Aer Lingus have shown an astonishing disregard for its employees and the manner in which it has behaved is going to the subject of a court action, which is likely to start at the Labour Court.’