Support staff at Cork Airport consider industrial action over redundancies

Staff employed by OCS, a facilities company contracted by the airport, are facing compulsory redundancy.

It is due to the downturn in traffic at the airport, which means the facilities staff are no longer required. 

“The workers are angry. They’re not going down without a fight,” Tony Carroll, Aviation Officer with trade union SIPTU said.

A meeting this morning with OCS will dictate whether SIPTU ballots for strike action.

OCS, an international facilities management company, once employed 20 people to work in wheelchair assistance. That number dropped to six, and now the company wants to make three more compulsory redundancies, Mr Carroll said.

“The minimum number required when airport traffic picks up a bit again is six people,” he said.

“Why make these people redundant if they will just have to hire them again in a couple of months?” 

The employees have offered to be temporarily laid off while Cork Airport continues to operate on reduced capacity due to Covid, but Mr Carroll said that this offer has not been entertained.

“There’s no logical reason to make them redundant when they’re willing to be laid off and wait until work picks up again,” he said.

A strike could bring the airport to a standstill, he said, as the majority of workers there are SIPTU members.

“If we picket Cork Airport, SIPTU members won’t pass the picket. And if SIPTU workers won’t pass it, and if airport police and the fire service won’t pass the picket, then the airport can’t operate.” 

Passengers and flights through Cork airport plunged by 99.5% in February. 

Solidarity TD Mick Barry hit out at OCS and said he will raise the matter in the Dáil.

OCS was contacted for comment.

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