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Aer Lingus pilots move closer to strike action

Aer Lingus pilots have moved closer to a possible strike after voting overwhelmingly in favour of industrial action.

Pilots who are members of the Irish Airline Pilots’ Association (IALPA) voted 99% in support of action, up to and including a strike.

The pilots are in dispute with the airline over pay.

The IALPA president told BBC Radio Ulster’s Evening Extra programme that a strike this summer is “not inevitable”.

The next step, Captain Mark Tighe added, was for Aer Lingus management to “understand the strength of feeling” and “see that the pilots will not back down”.

The ballot was conducted in person over the weekend and attracted a turnout of 89%.

IALPA members voted in favour of industrial action via electronic ballot last week but Aer Lingus questioned the validity of the poll.

Capt Tighe said the result of the second ballot was “an incredible reaffirmation of our mandate for industrial action in pursuit of a meaningful pay offer”.

Aer Lingus said that “any decision by IALPA to now serve notice of industrial action would be entirely unnecessary and would result in significant disruption to the airline’s customers and to other employees”.

A spokesperson for the airline said that any industrial action would not affect Aer Lingus regional services operating between Belfast and Great Britain.

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