Aer Lingus unions have sought to distance themselves from comments at the weekend suggesting a change of heart to support a takeover by British Airways owner International Airline Group.
Myles Worth, secretary of the Central Representative Council, a grouping of staff representatives from the carrier’s trade unions, said on RTE radio in Ireland that it had changed its stance on the bid after IAG chief executive Willie Walsh laid out its growth plans for the Irish airline.
Walsh had told Irish politicians that job cuts would be minimal and would be far exceeded by new roles as IAG expands the Aer Lingus fleet.
“The danger of this going away is that the company could eventually go into a downward spin,” Worth said.
“There doesn’t seem to be an immediate threat to the company but if this bid was to fail and the share price goes down, there’s a likelihood that the new CEO would have to put together a very aggressive cost-cutting plan.”
However, union sources told the Irish Times that the comments were premature and that there was a long way to go before any decision is made.
In a letter to incoming Aer Lingus chief executive Stephen Kavanagh, Impact, which represents 1,750 cabin crew, pilots and administrative staff at the airline, said: “The points made, particularly those that purport to reflect that the majority of staff in the company and their trade unions were in favour of the proposed IAG takeover of Aer Lingus, were not authorised by us and are in fact far from the case.
“Impact still asserts that this takeover is bad for Aer Lingus staff, threatens their jobs, and the connectivity assurances stated publicly are bad for Ireland. We hope to discuss these with you next week.”
In a separate communication to Kavanagh, CRC chairman Evan Cullen said “the position articulated by Myles Worth [regarding the proposed IAG takeover of Aer Lingus] on the radio and in an email to you were the personal views of Myles Worth not the CRC position.
“For the avoidance of doubt Myles Worth had no mandate to represent the position he did in the radio interview of Sunday afternoon and in his recent email to you.”
The CRC is due to meet Kavanagh after Aer Lingus reports full year results for 2014 tomorrow (Tuesday).
The Aer Lingus board recommended the bid last month, subject to the Irish government selling its 25% stake, but political and trade union opposition has been significant.
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