SIPTU representatives are seeking urgent discussions with the management of the DAA (formerly the Dublin Airport Authority) after it emerged that the company is seeking to reduce the workforce in Cork and Dublin airports.
It is reported that up to 1,000 jobs could be lost across the two airports as the company looks at ways to reduce costs.
Passenger numbers at both Cork and Dublin airports, and elsewhere, have reduced significantly since the beginning of the COVID-19 outbreak.
In a letter to staff, the DAA said it was looking at four potential areas to help address the financial crisis the company is facing including reductions to non-pay costs, a review of infrastructure plans, non-frontline costs and frontline costs.
It said that it is likely that reductions in staffing will have to apply throughout the business and said that details of a voluntary severance scheme (VSS) would be published next week.
“We are looking at all options to achieve cost reductions, and there are also likely to be other alternatives available for employees, such as career breaks and reduced hours working,” the letter said.
Cork Airport confirmed this afternoon that it is engaging with employees in relation to cost reduction measures which are needed at the airport.
In a statement, a spokesperson for Cork Airport said: “Cork Airport has briefed staff and will now engage with its employees and staff representatives in relation to the cost reduction measures required to address the economic crisis that is affecting businesses throughout the aviation sector. We are not making any further public comment at this time.”
SIPTU Sector Organiser, Neil McGowan said the DAA announcement will be of great concern to members at the airports and their families.
“The management of DAA today issued a notice to staff outlining passenger projections for 2021 and linked them to employment numbers at the airport. We will insist that any workers leaving the company as a result of redundancy must do so on a strictly voluntary and agreed basis and our focus will be to ensure that as many jobs possible are maintained in Dublin and Cork Airports,” Mr McGowan said.
The SIPTU Sector Organiser said that while there is a great deal of uncertainty in the aviation sector in general, "it is clear that the COVID-19 crisis will result in the airport operating in a different manner to allow for social distancing and we need to agree with management the staffing numbers that will ensure staff and passenger safety. This may well result in more staff in certain areas than previously required."
Mr McGowan added: "The industry will play an important part in the long-term recovery of the economy and, for this to happen, its workers need to be supported over the coming period. We are calling on the Government to extend the wage subsidy for aviation workers for the duration of the crisis. The subsidy has played a significant role in maintaining employment and it will be required for a longer period in aviation given the global impact of the COVID-19 virus on air travel."