View Full Version : Seniority is it time to get rid of it?
31st Mar 2012, 05:13
Hi. I work for an Australian carrier with a seniority system for rosters. This affects trips, days off, annual leave, hotel rooms, meal choices on board , work position etc. no new crew have started under this system for about 8 years so there has been no movement and never will be. Can crew tell me about the rostering systems the different airlines use , how they think they work regarding being fair to all crew , and their thoughts on seniority. Thank you. Our work system seems very out of date and unfair to me and a lot of other junior crew. I am junior after 10 years , and always will be.
Lack of control in the work place has been linked to coronary disease, muscular skeletal disease, negative mental health outcomes, fatigue and other medical conditions. Junior crew suffer from a distinct lack of control in their workplace.
Hi Lisa, somebody else asked a similar question a few days ago on another forum; hereīs what I wrote:
Our bidding system does not work on seniority. Itīs based on a rolling calendar that gives points for every successful bid you have had over the past year. The lower your points, the bigger the chance of getting a request granted. Irrespective of seniority. Itīs a fairer system I feel; gives everybody a crack at a good trip now and then. Unlike the seniority based system as practiced in many airlines, where good trips are the exclusive domain of those at the top of the list, while everybody else only flies the crud.
Days off are part of the bidding system so that works as described.
Annual leave has its own system.
Both the the summer and the winter half year are divided up in 4 periods.
You change period every year, so that everybody, irrespective of seniority, does both the good and the bad periods. Within your ascribed period, you can ask for a starting date.
Hotel rooms are the exact same standard for everybody. Some hotels give the captain a better room, but that is their own initiative and has nothing to to do with the company.
Food on board is first to the mill, with the provision that Capt and FO need to eat a different meal.
Hope that helps. :)
What.... Your guys up front don't get their own food / first choice?
Our meals are specifically marked Flightdeck and Crew... I think they also come from two different kitchens.
8th Apr 2012, 13:01
In an industry where by your skills are supposed to be equal to those in your rank/work group, i.e. Capt=Capt, FA=FA and so on, seniority has its' place, merit is too hard to measure. Then there is staff travel!
The thread intention was for rosters? The only reason why seniority works is because it means during a roster build a roster cannot be tampered with for whatever reason - or - if it has it can be audited applying the 'fairness' of seniority.
I understand that Q737 have rotational seniority, to me seems fair. I am cc l/h and I must say I like that we all have to do reserve.
If seniority was removed I would most certainly take a pay cut. The question I am asking, last EBA we took our $3000 sign on bonus - then gradually lost our LA's - short trips and long range pay. In keeping the status quo in the last EBA I have certainly taken a pay cut.
Is seniority worth keeping for sustainability. Me thinks not. Part 2 crew in l/h cc could easily break away and have a separate EBA. If they were smart, they'd make a deal to snare all flying that had long range pay and decent o/t. Then where would I be? Less pay, Q could then CR QAL l/h ....
For the sake of my future, maybe, seniority for the purpose of rosters should ...
9th Apr 2012, 08:53
Within another division of the business you're referring to LHLisa, the cabin crew have a very similar system to the 737 pilots - rolling seniority. The difference is the seniority numbers aren't published & you don't know where you stand officially - however you can generally tell with your bidding power from one full year's roster where you were more successful in gaining desired days off over others.
So each crew member has two seniority numbers, a static and a rolling. The static is used for staff travel, redundancy & LSL purposes, and the rolling is used for roster builds only. While this division don't have the power to bid for specific trips ect it works very well with day off allocations ect.
I guess at the end of the day, unless you're #1 seniority you will never receive a perfect roster.
20th Apr 2012, 02:37
I am not looking for a roster which is perfect. But I have worked almost every weekend for 10 years, and for 10 years always recieved my very last annual leave choice - out of about 51 bids. That sucks.
A lot of seniors are lovely caring people. But some smugly state they don't do the galley, and they don't do duty free. And they brag in front of juniors with no choice about how great their rosters are and what they are doing in NYC , hnl , and other dream destinations juniors within a division with no future of movement can only ever day dream about.
Most senior Crew are lovely, but some seem to enjoy the two tier system my org has a little too much. I am really keen to hear about what emirates and all the other airlines do.
20th Apr 2012, 02:53
I don't understand seniority for cabin crew at all. It creates a culture of entitlement, and the have and have nots. I couldn't believe all the unwritten rules when I started. Who gets offered leftover food, who gets the best crew meal, work positions, waiting in line for our allowances, hotel rooms, seats on the bus etc etc. We all work, we all get renumeration, we all have our own reasons for doing the job, so why is someone more entitled because they've been "loyal" to the company for longer?! The same people that dislike their employer with a passion!
LHLisa, I LOVE working for a different area of our Airline. Work positions are pre allocated (great from a ep and boredom point of view), first in best dressed for food/allowances/bus seats/holiday slots etc. Rotating/unseen seniority for hotel rooms and days off, and easy trip swapping bc the majority of our trips are 3/4 days.
I would think differently if the longer in the job = promotions/pay rise etc, but as far as I'm concerned the sooner we give seniority the flick, the more cohesive our workplace will be and the happier 80% of crew will be.
And no, I'm not Gen Y!!
26th Apr 2012, 08:18
Hi queen buzz , thanks for sharing your views. And great name by the way. I want to change mine to Botox Betty !
A friend and I were chatting , and discussing how we can see unfortunate similarities between seniority and apartheid .
The people holding the power achieved it purely by luck, not by expertise or other recognised means of achieving legitimate power. And those holding this power do not want to give it up, having become accustomed to what it affords them. They also do not believe they should need to share the power with those who don't have any.
Everyone is entitled to dignity in all areas of their lives. Seniority undermines that goal. If I have to beg one more time for cold left over j class food .....!
And no one who is gen Y should feel like they don't have the right to not like seniority or have an opinion.They are the ones most affected by it and as they have grown up in a world with the Internet and other multi media are in a better position to recognise unfairness than many older people. I wish all the new casuals starting all the best navigating a crazy work place. Keep a work diary, and remember that discrimination laws still apply at 30000 feet in international airspace.
28th Apr 2012, 03:52
A manager has told me there is nothing in the EBA stating seniors have the right to pax in j over junior crew . But every on board manager allows it to happen.
And there is nothing written saying seniors get priority of hotel rooms, first checkin at hotel etc but most on board managers encourage it or allow it to happen. That means managers are letting junior crew be directly or indirectly discriminated against. Which is illegal
Casuals, NZ crew, juniors are all discriminated against a lot.
28th Apr 2012, 04:34
A few years ago, a couple of disgruntled f/a's in domestic challenged seniority in FWA I believe, on grounds of discrimination.
They lost needless to say.
If you are so disgruntled with seniority then lobby the union.
Seniority is in the EBA and approximately 85% of FAAA members voted in favour of seniority when polled recently.
It is not perfect, but an overwhelming majority of crew are happy with it.
Until that changes, get used to it, or transfer to the A380 and see if you get any more weekends off.
I'm sure that you will see work positions by seniority become a thing of the past though once the new EBA is nutted out.
28th Apr 2012, 13:55
Back in the 'good old days' of BOAC seniority was absolute.
Getting on the bus was Captain first then FO then Flight Engineer then Senior cabin crew member then everyone else.
This was repeated at the hotel and again for collecting allowances.
Captain was entitled to a bigger, better room and then rooms went down the list.
The most junior crew member had to watch the bags and usually had to give up their room for room party.
These days I have seen the Captain guarding the bags and the junior crew texting from the comfort of the air conditioned bus!
Thats progress I guess
28th Apr 2012, 16:56
From what I can gather, you are in a fortunate position to choose between either a seniority system or a fair share system.
I have tried both systems and though it may not be perfect I for one like the seniority system.
I am not junior but nor would I consider myself senior.
I don't write my own roster but I am fortunate that I have a little bit of say in where I go and for that I am grateful.
Some people like long trips, others prefer short trips, some like to head to one part of the world, others prefer another part.
With the seniority system, at least there is an opportunity for most crew to express a desire for the kind of trip they would like.
Given where you sit in the seniority system, I understand your disillusionment with the system particularly as there are no new crew coming in after you but who is to blame for that?
You appear to be looking for alternatives to the bidding system and I think that's a good thing and I am open to ways of making the system fairer but if the alternative is simply no seniority, I'll stick with the status quo.
When I was under the fair share system, the trips were shorter and it was possible to request days off.
I would request the weekends off and often I would be home 3 out of 4 weekends a month.
I was also able to bid for holidays online as they became available.
That was some of the the positive aspects of it.
Oh! and checking in to hotels/room allocations were definitely not in any kind of order for F/As and there is no seniority for work positions.
Given that the lack of weekends off and the inability to get the holidays you asked for are of concern to you, maybe just maybe you should give fair share a try?
You can always come back.
BTW, I haven't seen seniority used for crew meals for years.
29th Apr 2012, 01:21
I have spoken up at a recent union meeting on this matter, and the union agreed with me that the current seniority system is very unfair to juniors casuals and NZ crew. The union are thankfully encouraging discussion on this matter, as are management. I am doing my best to try to fix an unfair system and make it fairer for all. Having discussions like this on forums is a great start and a big help. I am extremely appreciative to everyone who has posted here, and I hope people continue to do so. It is possible on this site to send a private message to me, so if anyone would like to do that I encourage that.
83% of FAAA members who voted on this issue voted for seniority. That does not mean 83% of cabin crew or the majority of cabin crew voted for seniority. Statistics can be mis represented quite easily unfortunately.
All forms of social injustice matter to me, and having worked in an unfair system for ten years I am keen for change, and for juniors, casuals , NZ crew etc to have a voice .
I have heard that rotating seniority can work well for crew, as per 737 tech crew. I would love to hear other people's ideas and suggestions.
29th Apr 2012, 09:58
LHLisa - Your world appears to be dominated by injustice, tragedy and terrifying events: It must be exhausting.
There appears to be no aspect of the routine Flight Attendant life that has failed negatively to affect you. Rosters, seniority, crew food, weekends off, pilots, union voting, who gets off the bus first and who gets checked in last - the list appears endless. As somebody who has followed the same career choice as you, for significantly longer, I can only apologise: Clearly many of the injustices that should have been happening to me have been happening to you instead - you are having my share as well as your own, and this, like everything else, must strike you as unfair, especially given that I have some small seniority and am therefore an unwitting exponent of discrimination and exploitation. I am humbled and embarrassed but above all, as I consider the vast tapestry of unfairness that is my working life being unpicked before me, I am simply overwhelmed by the size of the task.
I notice that a majority of your posts are made in the D&G forum: Only relatively recently have we been able to enjoy the fruits of your perception here in the CC area. The D&G forums would seem to be a much better venue for your contributions and attitude given that so many there are of like mind and means of expression. For those of us who are so foolish as to enjoy our work as CC, this will enable the continuation of our naiveté unblemished by the awful truth. That said, we'll miss you.
29th Apr 2012, 10:50
vctenderness You're forgetting steward 2s had last choice of crew food, and usually ended up with some manky fish dish that no one wanted. Oh on VC10s cabin crew always spoke to the Captain via the First Officer. Those were the days before CRM of course.
Personally I feel seniority is needed, (call it the pecking order if you like) People who have stayed loyal to a company should have their work recognised and this is one way of doing it, along with experience of course. If you were to report for a flight and draw lots for working senior positions then I don't believe that there would be proper leadership and mistakes could ultimately be made.
I worked on a longhaul flight once where a senior member went sick and the whole service went t**s up because the junior appointed hadn't got a clue, even having worked first class for years!
2nd May 2012, 13:04
Putting bidding aside for just a moment,
have you given much thought to the conditions that benefit all crew, regardless of seniority, under the current agreement?
I am open to finding a fairer system but the concern I no doubt share is how do you change the current system without jeopardising those conditions?
5th May 2012, 00:22
There are heaps of other ways of doing rosters and making work better for everyone. Fair shaire roster, points sytems roster, rotating seniority roster systems. Good that people here are thinking about it,time for a change for the better prob.
5th May 2012, 08:52
Lack of control in the work place has been linked to coronary disease, muscular skeletal disease, negative mental health outcomes, fatigue and other medical conditions. Junior crew suffer from a distinct lack of control in their workplace.
I would love to hear your sources regarding 'muscular skeletal disease' [sic] being attributed to a rostering system. By the way,you might prefer the term Musculoskeletal disorder/disease,as it is the recognised diagnosis,rather than the one you described (which actually doesn't exist).
I believe I work for the same airline as you,if so I am junior to you. I have never seen crew meals chosen on senority,have never seen rest breaks chosen on seniority and the only difference I have ever seen in hotels is CSMs and Captains sometimes get upgraded rooms at some hotels.
I love my job,the freedom it gives me,the travel I get,the great people I work with/meet and the great pay for so few hours actually worked. Yeah I don't get anything I bid for and am at the bottom of the onboard work choices every time I go to work. I dont care either way,what does it matter? :confused:
Easy choice for you,if the seniority system is causing you so much grief, drama,mental health problems,'muscular skeletal disease' [sic] etc etc etc etc etc etc etc etc etc etc etc etc etc (the list seems endless for you)
Just leave! Or go to another division in the company that doesn't have seniority based bidding (of which there are now many).
The job obviously isn't for you, we all know what we signed up for. If the majority of cabin crew who are in the seniority system want to keep it then it will stay as it is.
And comparing it to Apartheid ? Are you f*cking insane? This is your JOB,not your life. Comparing anything as inconsequential as where you work on a bloody plane to Apartheid is probably the most stupid/thoughtless/self-obsessed comment I have ever seen/heard from a cabin crew member. Those who live/lived under Apartheid do it for EVERY SECOND OF THEIR LIFE :mad:
No wonder everyone thinks cabin crew are just brainless waiters in the sky-LH Lisa you have given evidence to support the public's opinion.
6th May 2012, 03:40
Hey guys, am just new to the forums. Have just returned home to Aus after working for a middle eastern carrier for 4 years. Im about to start as an agency casual for australias largest airline and im a little worried about finding my feet amongst this seniority culture.
In my previous airline, seniority was primarily used only for roster building only, and was based on a fair share 'rolling' system. (which I believe really works). As far as day to day work, we are all flight attendants and we do the same job. everyone had equal weighting in regards to work positions, meals, hotel rooms etc. Ive heard a lot of awful stories about how casuals are treated in aus and im a little concerned.
Is there low work morale amongst the team due to different work contracts being treated differently? im used to working in a multi-cultural environment where a point is made to treat everyone equally and with no discrimination. If anything I think whoever has the highest EP's scores should be given preference to which door/work position they cover, as apposed to the oldest most senior crew. i understand seniority has its place in some aspects of the job- but in terms of the day to day operation, i think its only detrimental to team work and morale.....especially in our line of work where CRM and effective communication can mean life or death. If anyone has some advice for entering this type of company culture i would greatly appreciate it.
8th May 2012, 15:02
You mention CRM being affected by team work and morale. If there are crew who believe their own skills within CRM could be affected they should immediately leave. CRM is a skill some have in abundance and it comes naturally for them. For others it needs to be worked on. CRM is not about a group hug, empathizing or everyone getting their own way. It is simply a core subject aimed at highlighting how, when problems arise a joint effort will achieve a better outcome. CRM being practiced throughout routine operations only serves to promote the skill when you need it most.
Constantly being used as 'safety issue' for crew who feel their CRM skills are second to none when they're not getting their own way is as bad as not having it at all.
Any safety critical environment must have a chain of command. Why would the military hang on to it for hundreds of years if it didn't work.
Whilst I can't comment on every airline and how seniority works for them, I do think that the tail should not be allowed to wag the dog.
8th May 2012, 21:25
I believe crm is negatively impacted by seniority, as it creates a two tier structure of cabin crew. The haves and the have nots. It's bad for morale and communication, as well as fatigue levels in junior crew.
I and lots of others like me just want a fairer system, where no one has good rosters for years on end at the expense of other crew s bad rosters for years on end. We are all people here, not just seniors and juniors. Lets focus on shared humanity and fix this problem.
Someone said juniors complaining about the unfair work environment should be quiet and get a life, and said the person complaining is insane.
A fairer rostering system will help me to achieve having a life, and it might stop some crew from going stark raving made due to extreme jet lag , unfair work stress etc.
Jet sonic saying he is worried about the working conditions for his new hire company, he should be worried. Hire really thick skinned people, who can handle being bullied. Maybe ex SAS, military, police types would be best. :ugh: . Plus it would be good for the moral of junior crew to have cute men to ogle at work. :ok:
9th May 2012, 00:56
And asking for research proving a relationship between muscle injury/ skeletal injury and fatigue?
There is tons of it. Start at the "International Journal of Fatigue", try reading their article titled "The nature of fatigue damage in bone" by Clive, O'Brien and Taylor.
There is lots of research. If you are unable to access university data base systems for the latest and most up to date journal information try using google scholar, even your newspaper will have information. Enjoy the reading, and best get a cup of tea or a cold beer to sip while you read, as you will be there for quite a while. Even the workcover Victoria website has info on fatigue and muscle injury - muscular skeletal or however its meant to be spelt! :)
9th May 2012, 15:50
Speaking from a perspective of 33 years in a very wide range of companies and organisations - but always in a service industry - I can say that seniority does not exist in this way. I realise, of course, that the nature of a crew with periods working away and multiple destinations and schedules is unique - but the system sounds poor.
Someone described a duel seniority with static and rolling so that all get a fair crack at the best parts of the job - that sounds good.
My guess is that a company that maintains a 1960s/70s system in the 21st century is storing up big trouble. Whilst it may be recession now, at some point it will end. If staff leave because there is no prospect of a better work and life cycle, that will affect the companies bottom line.
A friend of mine works in a UK private hospital and the pay/hours are worse than in the NHS. She has seen a stream of colleagues leave and constantly has to help the new recruits - knowing that they will soon realise what things are like and will leave. Her domestic situation prevents her from leaving.
Airlines (and any company) that ignore this kind of low grumble - will find that one day it bursts out with a roar.
14th May 2012, 04:30
I think you have missed the point of my post.The seniority that im referring to is the disparity of treatment given depending on which labour contract you are amongst equal colleagues. I was not referring to, in anyway, the chain of command, as obviously a tier of positions are required and that authority would run top down from the flight deck crew-- that is critical to airline operation. I am referring to discrimination and team issues that arise from having different labour contracts for the same level position on board the aircraft and the division it creates. And no matter how thick skinned and robotic management might want or expect us to be, these issues will effect communication and team work.....which is core to a cabin crews role. This situation im talking about is apparently quite bad, and perhaps unique to a few airlines in australia that have only in recent years brought in outsourced casual flight attendants. I think Catonahottinroof knows exactly what im talking about.
14th May 2012, 18:34
I take your point and I have no idea what it's like in Australia. My point though was simply this; If you don't like a working practice using CRM as a leverage tool is wrong. Someone who quotes failing CRM has surely the responsibility to make sure it doesn't break down. It's not good enough to blame something else and then fail yourself.
Any issues that may divide the cabin crew team should be left at the door.
In any accident investigation where the activities of the crew were brought into question, I think you'd feel pretty weak if you blamed the failure of the team on seniority or any other in-house practice. It may well be that the company would be seen in a very dim light for allowing a practice to continue if it was documented as affecting team work. Sometimes you need to step back and look it it from a safety perspective that would be viewed from the outside and not from your own colleagues culture.
You need to be bigger than the system if you are to change it.
15th May 2012, 07:48
don't worry. there will be no bidding or seniority etc for cabin crew. it will be a thing of the past soon!
17th May 2012, 01:13
I work for the labor hire company. Its alright for the most part. If your not aware, theres 3 groups in short Haul: QAL, QD, MAM. The base that Im in is mostly young and dynamic. It all depends who you work with. I have experienced 'seniors' (QAL and some QDs) treat me different because Im not 'senior' annd just a 'casual' and so have many of the people that I know-so my warning to you is that it will happen. Im pretty thick skinned and if someone gives me crap then I give it right back to them or as soon as they start talking crap about my work group Ill snap right back at them. My advice is to not let anyone talk down to you because your 'casual'. Youll prob be better at your job then they are! Depending on where your based will depend on the type of relationship you will have the QD staff. I say that because: In the base Im in theres a problem with rosters!! There are a handful of QD crew that arent so nice to MAM crew all based on rosters/trips-which is pretty petty. Oh and they and some of the QAL are under a false impression that we are paid more than them. Were not in the long run-What they all forget is that we arent paid ANY bandpayments-we get the same rate regardless of day or time. We dont get any paid sick/personal leave or Annual leave etc. Most people in short haul are really nice and friendly. From what the ex long haul crew have told me its a different type of culture in short haul-(so a few of the things that LHlisa talks about arent really seen that often in short haul).
Sure 80 odd% may have voted for seniority. But thats 80 odd% of FAAA members NOT Cabin Crew. The FAAA is tailored towards Full Time QAL staff with seniority hence why they have more members that are QAL seniority and as a result where %% came from. (Im a member and needed help/advive with something and nobody new the answer, if I was a QAL they would have) Im sure if ALL crew were surveyed it would be much lower.
Come on seriously, evidence and some of your comments? Everyone is entitled to their own opinion and shouldnt be rediculed by you!
I wonder how long it will be until someone files a lawsuit against for discrimination/bullying in the workplace
17th May 2012, 02:27
I've never personally been treated badly by crew on different contracts because I'm a casual. We all do the same job in the end and I believe most people acknowledge this.
20th May 2012, 13:16
I am a 'senior' CSM in the same base as Danfromaus. I bend over backwards to make our casuals feel welcome and make them feel a valued part of my crew (as I do to all my F/As, doesnt matter to me whether they are QAL,QD or MAM. We certainly dont check into hotels or choose crew meals on seniority....first in, best dressed!! I usually let my forward galley operator choose his/her meal first and then offer what is left to the rest of the crew.
I know there is a bit of grizzling amongst the QD crew who sometimes see the casuals getting good trips....but it is all the luck of the draw. Even the QDs on reserve have picked up some great trips off reserve with the current shortage of crew in the Perth base.
I have also flown longhaul ex MEL as a F/A for a short time....and not once did I see us lining up to check in to hotels, choose meals or rest breaks on seniority. I was on the a/c type that did have seniority. The NZ crew were treated exactly the same as us......as a long serving CSM (on secondment as F/A), I would have been horrified if I saw this and would have spoken up.
Maybe LHLisa flys out of SYD where it is a whole different ballgame? As a previous contributor mentioned....maybe time to go to A380 with no seniority?
Yes, the job has changed over the years....but IT IS STILL a great lifestyle!!:ok: