The Green Party has reacted with concern to reports this morning that the State is considering taking a stake in Aer Lingus in order to keep the business viable in the wake of the Covid-19 pandemic crisis.
Responding to reports in this morning’s Irish Times, Green Party Transport spokesperson Joe O’Brien TD said: “We are hugely concerned that staff and crew at Aer Lingus are not being protected at this difficult time. Workers rights must be fully vindicated as part of any stake taken by the State. I’m aware of speculation this week that Aer Lingus may seek as many as 900 redundancies in the wake of the Covid-19 crisis. If the State is considering taking a stake in Aer Lingus or Ryanair, we must get assurances that the precarious work practices that have become pervasive in the airline industry are addressed immediately.”
Green Party MEP for Dublin, Ciarán Cuffe said: “In recent weeks I have been working closely with my colleagues on the TRAN Committee in the European Parliament to ensure that any bail-out funding for airlines cannot signal a return to business as usual. We wrote to the European Commission asking them to ensure that in return for state aid, airlines must reduce their emissions, and respect EU passenger rights legislation. While these measures should already have been in place, now that airlines are asking for billions in state aid, they must in return agree to the building of a greener and fairer aviation industry.
“If taxpayers’ money is to be used to keep airlines such as Aer Lingus afloat, the State must use its leverage to ensure the airline puts in place a serious strategy for reducing its emissions, improving working conditions for its staff, and abstains from bonuses, share buy-backs and dividend pay-outs. Workers and the environment should come first in any decision the State makes.’’
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