Aer Lingus urges shareholder restraint over Ryanair offer

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Aer Lingus is urging its shareholders to take no action following Ryanair's decision today to make a new takeover bid for the airline.

The Irish flag-carrier is yet to comment further, beyond noting the Ryanair offer and advising restraint from shareholders.

But trade union SIPTU claims that the bid for Aer Lingus is "mischief-making" and had originally been designed to coincide with a planned strike. SIPTU's walkout has been put back while the union ballots members on alternatives to an Aer Lingus outsourcing proposal.

"Doubtless the initiative was originally designed to coincide with a dispute in Aer Lingus," says SIPTU Aer Lingus branch organiser Teresa Hannick. "However, workers and management in Aer Lingus have managed to formulate a proposal to save the airline, frustrate Ryanair's monopoly ambitions, continue to promote choice to the Irish airline industry and maintain some semblance of civilised working conditions."

The union is rejecting outright the low-fares carrier's renewed attempt to buy Aer Lingus.

Ryanair's all-cash offer today represents the second effort to purchase its fellow Irish carrier, a previous attempt having been rebuffed by European Union competition authorities. Ryanair already owns 29.8% of Aer Lingus.

"Today's attempt by Ryanair to acquire Aer Lingus is just another attempt at mischief-making," adds Hannick. "This initiative directly contradicts all their talk about the necessity for competition in Ireland's airline industry.

"Ryanair has established a dominant position and is moving to do what we always said it would - create a private-sector monopoly so that it can absolutely dictate the agenda to the detriment of both consumers and workers."