IALPA members to take industrial action at CHC Helicopters

An IRCG Sikorsky S-92 (RESCUE118, EI-ICA) © Riatsnapper

IALPA members are set to take industrial action from noon on 24 January at CHC Helicopters in a dispute over rostering arrangements at the Irish Coastguard helicopter search and rescue services. The service is operated under contract by CHC. IALPA, a branch of Fórsa, issued notice of industrial action to CHC last week. A ballot of IALPA members at CHC overwhelmingly supported industrial action.

Fórsa official Brendan O’Hanlon said the union met with CHC management on 21 but no progress had been made on the rostering issue. “From Thursday the pilots will engage in a work-to-rule action which means they will work a fixed pattern roster of six days of work (containing three 24-hour shifts) followed by three calendar days free of all duties and obligations to CHC.

“The fixed pattern roster will continue indefinitely until CHC management and IALPA agree a resolution to the issue. The ballot was called after repeated attempts to convince CHC management of their obligations contained in the Pilot Services Agreement (PSA).

“This has been an ongoing problem for 18 months. The service is over-reliant on overtime in order to maintain the required level of service, and has survived for a prolonged period on the goodwill and tolerance of the pilots themselves. This is simply unsustainable,” he said.

Brendan said IALPA had sought a mandate for industrial action up to and including strike action if management continues to breach existing collective agreements, including the current Pilot Service Agreement (PSA), and if CHC failed to implement the current agreed fixed pattern roster and annual leave agreement. Brendan added: “We expect pilots to be able to work their agreed rosters and for management to ensure the rostering situation is sustainable. Until we can reach an agreement to achieve that, this industrial action is absolutely necessary.”

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