September 16, 2020
Aer Lingus staff being denied access to basic social welfare entitlements – Claire Kerrane TD

Sinn Féin spokesperson on Social Protection Claire Kerrane TD has criticised what appears to be an ongoing practice within Aer Lingus of blocking access to basic social welfare entitlements for workers.

Teachta Kerrane said:

“For weeks my colleagues and I have been inundated with correspondence from Aer Lingus employees who are struggling to survive as their hours at work have been reduced.

“We all understand the ongoing impact that Covid-19 has had on the aviation industry and workers hours across all airlines have been dramatically reduced. For many workers this has meant they are now only working two or three days per week.

“Confusion has arisen about entitlements because workers have been advised by local Intreo offices that they can apply for Jobseeker’s Benefit for the days they are not working. This is the norm for workers who work full-time, but where short-time working is introduced by their employer. This situation has been confused because Aer Lingus have not been signing the necessary UP14 forms to allow employees access to Jobseeker’s Benefit.

“Myself and my colleagues Teachtaí Louise O’Reilly and Darren O’Rourke have made several representations to the Minister for Social Protection and despite being told talks between her Department and Aer Lingus were underway to resolve this issue, the process has dragged on for months and there remains no clarity for workers.

“Minister Humphreys has since confirmed in writing to me that employees can claim Jobseeker’s Benefit where their employer is claiming the Employment Wage Subsidy Scheme, however this scheme is only in operation since the beginning of the month and there is no reference to the period before this when the Temporary Wage Subsidy Scheme was in place.

“Workers at Aer Lingus, like many workers across many sectors have suffered immeasurably because of Covid-19. All workers are entitled to access supports that they pay into to fall back on when needed. Aer Lingus need to ensure that all of their workers have the same access to these supports.”

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