SIPTU: Dublin Airport problems will not be solved in the short term

Over 1,000 workers have left the airport over the last 16 to 18 months under a voluntary severance scheme.
SIPTU: Dublin Airport problems will not be solved in the short term

Olivia Kelleher

The DAA insists it is recruiting security workers for Dublin Airport but SIPTU organiser Niall Phillips says that even when they manage to hire employees it takes six weeks and multiple examinations before they are fit for work.

In an interview on Newstalk Breakfast the aviation sector organiser said that over 1,000 workers have left the airport over the last 16 to 18 months under a voluntary severance scheme.

“The problem is that passenger numbers have increased and there still is not enough staff and I don’t know if that can be rectified in the short term. I have no doubt that the DAA are involved in a (recruitment) process whether it is aggressive or not,” Mr Philips said.

“There were some commentary in various media and the Dáil about the rate of pay that they offer and whether they are getting the amount of applicants they would hope to get.

“Nevertheless, it takes six weeks to train a security officer which is about seven exams these people have to pass before they go through. So recruiting doesn’t mean you are going to get the security officer at the end of it.

“Some people apply and don’t come through at the end of the six-week process. So yes a number of officers have been recruited, but training seems to be a bit of an issue. Getting them trained and on the floor seems to be the issue.”

Increased pressure

On Wednesday, Dalton Philips, CEO of the DAA told RTÉ Radio that the airport was grappling to deal with very high demand at a time when the labour market is incredibly tight. He defended rates of pay for airport security staff stressing that it was 35 per cent higher than the national minimum wage.

However, Niall Phillips says that a semi State body like the DAA shouldn’t be comparing its rates of pay to the minimum wage.

“They should be an employer that attracts the best applicants for the positions. The terms and conditions should be good enough to get enough people in,” Mr Philips said.

“There have been issues over the past number of weeks in relation to DAA recruitment.

“They aren’t getting the numbers of applicants in that they would hope to get and that may be a reflection of the terms and conditions offered.

Mr Phillips added that he doesn’t expect the issue to be solved in the short term. As a result he is pleading with passengers to be considerate of the workers at Dublin Airport as they attempt to do their job in stressful conditions.

“Staff are under increased pressure. I would ask passengers in the meantime to be patient as they go through the airport and respect the workers. They are doing their job under very difficult circumstances. This situation is not of their making.”

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