The Labour Party has overwhelmingly passed a motion calling on the Government to reject a bid by the IAG for shares in Aer Lingus, if concerns about the sale are not addressed.
The motion, which was proposed by local TD, Brendan Ryan was passed at the party’s national convention last weekend. It’s members want guarantees on the future of Aer Lingus before any sale of State shares in the airline can take place, saying the objection to the current deal was “not out of political self interest, but because it is a bad deal.”
However, despite the vote at the national convention, the feeling is that the sale will proceed, with senior Labour party representatives saying that the ‘conditions are all deliverable.’ Aer Lingus representatives also believe that the sale is still likely, and that IAG is likely to make a new bid, taking into account the concerns from all sides. The sale is also favoured by Aer Lingus Chief Executive designate, Stephen Kavanagh.
The belief among party leaders is that opposition to the sale has softened and that the party is likely to agree to the deal. This is in light of Mr Walsh’s promise of expansion at Aer Lingus, which has led to the change of heart.
Despite this weakening of opposition to the deal, Ryan said at the convention: “We have not heard any valid reason for example why IAG cannot purchase the other 75 per cent of the company and work with the Irish State. We will not risk the future of the airline and its workers,” he said.
The motion, which was signed by eight TDs, expresses concern that the bid by IAG does not reflect the true value of Aer Lingus. It calls for an independent valuation of the company’s assets and its slots at London’s Heathrow Airport. Former chief executive of Aer Lingus and head of IAG, Willie Walsh is due to meet unions at the airline this week, amid reports IAG will make an improved offer for the State’s shareholding.
It is understood the meeting will take place on Friday, with representatives of ICTU, IMPACT and SIPTU, among unions expected to attend. Representatives from Aer Lingus management are also expected to attend the meeting.