SIPTU has called on the Government to block the sale of Aer Lingus to International Consolidated Airlines Group (IAG) unless guarantees are secured in relation to the strategic interests of the country and workers conditions of employment. SIPTU Utilities and Construction Division Organiser, Owen Reidy, said: "We believe the Government must act with extreme caution on this critical matter. The long term interests of the country, the economy and the workforce at Aer Lingus must all be considered. Unless the Government is given clear and tangible guarantees on a number of key issues, the IAG offer must be rejected. “The key issues include a solid commitment being given that Aer Lingus’s Heathrow slots will be maintained and the airlines transatlantic routes will continue to be developed. Tens of thousands of jobs in Ireland rely on these key global connections. “Clear commitments must also be given that the company’s employment levels at Dublin, Shannon and Cork airports will be maintained. SIPTU members have played a vital role in making Aer Lingus a success. They need clear and tangible guarantees that this commitment will be reciprocated and that current direct employment levels will be maintained. This is not only important for the workers but also for the local economies of the regions concerned." He added: “The Government must focus on the strategic interests of the country not just as the return that the sale of Aer Lingus could generate. After all this is why the Government maintained its shareholding when the company was initially floated some years ago.” SIPTU represents over 50% of the workers in Aer Lingus.