News & Media

Aviation workers need protection package

4 March 2021

Statement by Duncan Smith TD
Party Whip and Spokesperson on Climate Action, Communications Networks and Transport.

As the aviation industry remains grounded, Labour transport spokesperson Duncan Smith has called on the Government to ensure any “Living with Covid” strategy includes a suite of measures to protect workers in the aviation industry. Deputy Smith criticised Government for failing to introduce Labour’s proposed national suppression strategy which calls for the inclusion of a survival package for aviation to maintain the industry through the pandemic and prevent job losses.  

Deputy Smith said: 

“Government TDs and Senators are speaking words of sympathy but the same Government they are a part of has done absolutely nothing to implement a survival package and last week we saw 129 workers in Aer Lingus in Shannon lose their jobs. Aviation is suffering in this pandemic and we have to protect jobs with a strategic package that protects workers.

“Less than a fortnight ago, Tánaiste, Leo Varadkar, said he would not allow Aer Lingus to fail. However, government has failed 129 Aer Lingus workers in Shannon just last week. By what measure is the Government determining this is not a failure? Words are not actions, and we need actions to save jobs of thousands in aviation.

“The aviation industry has been decimated by Covid-19. Under the Government’s failed “Living with Covid” plan, workers in the industry remain grounded with no light at the end of the tunnel. It is an unfortunate reality that aviation has been and will continue to be adversely affected regardless of our national policy, as evident from the last 12 months.

“The Labour Party’s alternative, a national suppression strategy, would enable us to open the economy. We have been calling consistently for a Survival Package to protect worker in the sector. A suppression strategy will not be a further cause of determent to aviation and it would include a package that needs conditionality that companies cannot use to make layoffs and redundancies. This package would protect jobs and protect workers.

“We need both the State and stakeholders to act together to ensure that our airlines are viable into the future. We are an island nation, we are not blind to the fact that we rely heavily on a strong and functioning aviation industry operating out of Dublin, Cork, Shannon, Kerry, Knock and all our regional airports. Labour has consistently called for strong reassurances that regional airports such as Shannon Airport won’t be abandoned as we come out of this crisis.”