September 8, 2020
Workers cannot be used as pawns in airlines battle with government – Darren O’Rourke TD

Sinn Féin spokesperson on Transport Darren O’Rourke TD has said that airlines should not use the threat of job losses as a weapon in their battles with the government.

His comments come as Ryanair threaten to close their Cork and Shannon bases over the winter if the government do not budge on foreign travel restrictions.

Teachta O’Rourke also highlighted that government inaction has contributed to this escalation, with no testing in our airports and a ‘green list’ that is now over a month out of date.

He said:

“This move by Ryanair is a worrying escalation in the crisis facing the aviation industry here. 

“Over 140,000 people are employed in the wider aviation sector, yet the government and the Minister for Transport have brought forward no rescue and recovery plan for this important industry. 

“The government’s inaction is certainly contributing to this escalation and they need to act before thousands more jobs are permanently lost.

“The government have failed to put a Covid-19 testing regime in place in our airports and have allowed the ‘green list’ to expire by over a month at this stage. 

“This inaction is putting increasing pressure on airlines, however their answer should not be to use the threat of job losses as leverage.

“Workers in this sector have already endured severe pay cuts with many struggling to make ends meet. The threat of imminent job losses will only add further to their concerns. This is turning into a game of chicken between airlines and the government, with airline workers and the general public caught in the middle. 

“The government cannot continue to ignore the aviation sector. The threat to thousands of jobs and lost connectivity to our island is very real.

“A robust testing and tracing regime for our airports, in conjunction with extra measures such as temperature screening and a frequently updated ‘green list’ are urgently needed, as Covid-19 is here with us for the medium term.”