Breakthrough in Dublin airport strike

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A PEACE formula to resolve the strike at Dublin Airport which grounded thousands of passengers was agreed last night after government intervention, writes Andrew Buncombe.

The breakthrough was announced by the Taoiseach, Bertie Ahern, who said he hoped it would allow an early return of normal working. Thirty-nine striking baggage handlers are to be taken back by their employer, Ryanair, with no victimisation on either side.

The company and its union SIPTU will today hold talks separately with the government-appointed inquiry team.

The baggage handlers voted last night to accept the terms of the agreement. Mr Ahern said: "The issue of trade union recognition is not resolved in this. But I think what we have successfully done if all sides accept is to get the airport open again."

Aer Rianta, which runs the airport, estimated that 40 per cent of normal flights operated yesterday after it re-opened at 7 am. It was forced to close at 1pm on Saturday when fire crews stopped work in support of the strikers. However, Aer Lingus was forced to cancel its 80 flights yesterday because its cabin crew and other staff refused to pass pickets.

Ryanair's chief executive Michael O'Leary said it would recognise trade unions when the majority of its 1,000 staff wanted Ryanair to do so.