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Pay and Working Conditions Could Be Contributing to Airport Staffing Shortages

The current situation at Dublin Airport can only be described, it is widely agreed, as a national disgrace.

Passengers were forced to queue in some cases for hours, resulting in over 1,000 missed flights according to daa Head of Communications Kevin Cullinane.

Gript editor John McGuirk recently penned an op-ed highlighting the huge role the ‘covid lockdowns’ played in the on-going chaos we have seen unfolding in our country’s primary air hub.

While the prolonged lockdowns did indeed precipitate the letting go of a large number of airport staff, there seems to be another issue at play in the form of relatively non competitive pay rates for airport security staff or as daa.ie calls them ‘Airport Search Unit’ (ASU).

In 2020 The Irish Times reported that the average salary for full time employment in Ireland was approximately 49,000 euro, noting that IT workers were the best paid.

Taking this information into consideration, based on the information available on the daa website regarding recruitment of ASUs these positions might be said to be less than desirable.

The ASU positions advertised are a “24/7 shift-based roster” and the

“The hourly rate of pay for these roles is €14.14 (inclusive of shift pay).  The information further states that “The contract on offer is a flexible contract of 30-40 hours (you are guaranteed 30 hours but must be available to work 40)”.

In the best case scenario if a worker should get a full 40 hours work every week that would mean they earn around 565 euro a week which is 29,411 euro a year before deductions. This is well below what was reported as the national average.

Given that these positions are said by the daa to require a 5 to 6 week training period, the rather sensitive nature of ensuring that thousands of passengers passing through airports are not carrying forbidden items, not to mention the strenuous nature of the working hours involved perhaps these jobs should receive more of a financial incentive.


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