The Aer Lingus dispute is a key battleground that will determine how Irish workers will be treated in the decade ahead.
As part of the so-called ‘Greenfield Agreement’, the cabin crew previously agreed to huge pay cuts and massive concessions about their conditions of service.
Now Aer Lingus wants to drive a coach and 747 through those existing agreements and to mount a never ending assault on workers.
ICTU Twins in Hiding?
With so much at stake for workers, where is the Irish Congress of Trade Unions (ICTU)? Not a dicky bird from David Begg (General Secretary) or Jack O’Connor (President). Complete radio silence and not even a three line statement on the ICTU website. Have the ICTU twins entered the witness protection programme along with Enda Kenny?
Amazingly, the lock out of the workers at Aer Lingus is of no consequence to a union leadership that is hell bent on a single ambition – the continuation of ‘partnership’ and the benefits that it bestows upon an elite of union insiders.
Begg Flies Business Class
Strike Busters: Colm Barrington (Chairman), Christoph Mueller (CEO) and David Begg (Picture from Aer Lingus Annual Report)
Surprise, surprise – David Begg is a member of the board of Aer Lingus.
Bertie Ahern rewarded him with this appointment in January 2008 .
Begg sits comfortably alongside the stockbrokers, accountants and the other business barons on the Aer Lingus board. Begg must have even gotten to know Seanie Fitzpatrick until the bankster exited the Aer Lingus board at the end of 2008.
The plan for strike busting and locking out the workers was approved by the Aer Lingus board on which Begg sits. Planes with a scab crew have been hired in at a cost of €400,000 a day. The board has even enlisted the help of Ryanair who have provided aircraft and crews. Michael O’Leary says that Ryanair is always willing to assist ‘if we can help a union to lose’.
We have three questions for David Begg:
- Why are you on the board of Aer Lingus?
- As a member of the board, what have you done to help the workers from being locked out in this extraordinary fashion?
- Given what the management there are doing, why haven’t you resigned yet?
UPDATE: 28 January – Double Agent David is Outed
David Begg and his friends in IBEC have come together to have talks with both sides in the Aer Lingus dipsute. LRC Director of Conciliation Kevin Foley is also being briefed by IBEC Director of Industrial Relations Brendan McGinty and ICTU General Secretary David Begg.
Which side is Double Agent David working for now?
UPDATE: 31 January – Double Agent David is Back Inside, Again
And then things got even murkier – it turns out that Begg’s membership of the Aer Lingus board was as a representative of the employee share ownership trust. However, this trust has recently had its stake in Aer Lingus reduced and so poor David is no longer eligible to continue on the board.
Fear not, we have today’s announcement that, given his sterling work to date, Begg is to be reappointed to the board, but no longer as an employee representative. Presumably David will be only too delighted with his new role. Although keeping track of which side he is supposed to be on at any given time must be getting harder and harder. I suppose that’s why he gets such a hefty salary…