DUBLIN (Reuters) - Staff at Irish airline Aer Lingus AERL.I will begin industrial action next month in a dispute over a shortfall in the company's pension scheme, trade union SIPTU said on Thursday.
Clerical and administrative staff as well as some cabin crew will begin a series of two-hour stoppages from October 1, SIPTU official Dermot O'Loughlin said.
"In light of the absence of meaningful initiatives on management's part to progress the aforementioned negotiations I am advising you that industrial action will take place commencing on Monday 1st October 2012," O'Loughlin said in a letter to Aer Lingus management.
Aer Lingus said in a statement it regretted the union's decision and called on it to remain engaged in talks at the Labour Relations Commission on how to address the pensions deficit.
SIPTU represents most of the Aer Lingus staff in a pension scheme that had a 700 million euros (561 million pounds) deficit at the end of last year. The pension scheme also covers staff at the Dublin Airport Authority.
Aer Lingus says it has no legal obligation to increase its fixed contribution to the pension scheme, but has been holding talks with unions for months about the shortfall in an effort to avoid industrial action.
Reporting by Conor Humphries; Editing by David Holmes