SIPTU and other unions in Aer Lingus have been told that the airline is to reduce working time for the month of April, with the effect that staff earnings will be reduced by 50%. Management informed unions today (Thursday, 19th March) that the airline will be operating just 20-25% of the usual number of flights in the coming weeks due to travel restrictions and reduced demand caused by the global Covid-19 public health crisis. The airline said the reduction in earnings will be implemented equally across the company, with all grades – including senior management – experiencing a 50% cut. Because the cut is due to short-time working, staff may qualify for social welfare payments. Aer Lingus has assured the unions that these are emergency, temporary measures, and that normal pay and conditions will be restored once the situation has normalised. SIPTU Aviation Organiser, Neil McGowan, said: “Aer Lingus along with other companies in the aviation industry has suffered a dramatic drop in passenger numbers that is expected to continue. Following discussions with senior management over the last number of days involving SIPTU and the other ICTU unions, we have secured agreement that will maintain earnings at 50% despite up to a 75% drop in the flight schedule. “This is extremely regrettable and will have a significant impact on our members in Aer Lingus. However, we believe it will assist in sustaining long term employment at the airline. We have agreed with management that members will return to their full terms and conditions of employment following the Covid-19 emergency.”