Pilots at Aer Lingus will be striking for 48 hours from tomorrow against attacks on their pay and conditions.
Aer Lingus is planning to open a new hub at Belfast airport, which would involve some flights to and from London being diverted from Shannon. Aer Lingus is planning to use this as an opportunity to cut pay and conditions as it employs new staff at Belfast on lower pay and conditions than existing staff.
A "solidarity march" last week to Shannon airport drew between 4-5,000 protestors, described as "overwhelming" by some pilots. Pilots from American Airlines have also sent over a delegation to the strike. As of today the 48 hour strike, which is likely to ground several hundred flights, is set to go ahead unless Aer Lingus promises to match pay and conditions.
Aer Lingus is 25% owned by the Irish state, which has refused to intervene in the dispute, calling it a "commercial decision". At the same time, Ryanair increased its share in Aer Lingus to 28 percent, whilst leasing two planes to its "competitor" to help it break the strike.
update: The strike was called off as the pilot's union and Aer Lingus resumed talks.