View Full Version : Now is the time to join ASLEF!

Hot Wings
26th Jan 2002, 15:33
Like many people, I am completely fed up with BALPA. Our union is always on the back foot. When you consider that many train drivers now earn well over 30,000pa, with Eurostar about to pay their drivers 40,000, where does that leave us?

ASLEF has been extremely successful in negotiating large pay rises for its members, perhaps BALPA ie. Chris Darke, could learn a few things from them (although he has always been successful at getting a double digit pay rise for himself). ASLEF might be a bit too militant for some of you Telelgraph readers out there but I've got some news for you - we are not stock-brokers or an accountants but operators of heavy machinery.

I know that now is not the time to persue huge pay claims but things will turn around and we should be looking for some pay back when they do. Otherwise we can look forward to a future of new contracts every year, jobs being farmed out to cheaper crew, money purchase pensions and salaries lower than secretaries.

As flight crew, we are now in the front line of a new war, locked up for hours on end with no means to defend ourselves if the worst should happen. Our job prospects and futures are dependent upon managers who can't even tie up their own shoe laces. If you have an accident at work - career over. If you have an accident whilst driving home after a night sector - prison.

Now is the time for strong, forward thinking union leadership. It is time for Chris Darke to go!

Hot Wings
26th Jan 2002, 17:19
And, sadly, the painful truth. We have more in common with train drivers than with white collar workers, hence the need to adjust our attitudes to the reality of our situation.

At BA a great deal of focus has been placed upon re-inventing us as the "senior manager on-board" rather than "drivers airframe" yet, as a group, we are considered to be "non-management employees". We have no share options, no company car and little in the way of enhanced staff travel. The CSD is now also a "manager". Some people's egos may feel adequately massaged but that doesn't pay the bills!

[ 26 January 2002: Message edited by: Hot Wings ]</p>

Sven Sixtoo
26th Jan 2002, 18:04
Hot Wings and colleagues:

Please stick with the drivers airframe approach. Although flying modern aircraft is very much a systems management task, when things go wrong I want a pilot up front. Ideally he shouldn't need ego-boosting, but if he does it should come from four bars on his shoulder and 10000 hours in his logbook, not from a company car and reserved parking slot. As SLF I would hope to find the senior on-board manager in row 50 checking on the product. (I EXPECT to find him in first but that's a different issue . . .) <img src="rolleyes.gif" border="0">

26th Jan 2002, 20:21
I feel it is appropriate to defend BALPA. They have a limited budget and they are often up against some very obnoxious managers who think nothing of lies, breaking the law and wrecking/risking the health/lives of passengers and staff in the search of profit. I hope you BALPA knockers never find out that your interests are uneconomic for your employers.

Last year, March 2001, I was exposed to a dangerous chemical. Although nearly unconscious, I managed to arrive on a runway (flying a BA flight number)without damaging the aircraft, or my passengers. I was soon unconscious and admitted to hospital, albeit after an airline induced delay.

My employers, a small airline,part of the BA franchise system, had failed to comply with the COSHH/Health and Safety regs or the chemical manufacturers instructions on use.

My lungs and liver are damaged, I now have a multicrew only restriction on my medical so I am unable to continue flying on my existing aircraft. As a result of this restriction I am about to be sacked, rather than redeployed to a multi crew fleet. My employer deny any responsibility for their actions, despite the Chief Executive admitting criminal offences (in writing) and my senior pilot putting in writing that when he arrived at the airport his first concern was to check the servicability of the aircraft. Meanwhile, I was left unattended, my legs still spashed in acid, and without any first aid or decontamination. My employer considers that the incident did not cause my ill health. This is not the oppinion of the medical comunity, including the company doctor, the CAA and various specialists.

In due course all of this will come out in the wash, and sadly no doubt the media, naming myself, the airline and the numpty of a senior pilot who is responsible for it all. This can only harm the industry as a whole and the airlne I work for in particular. Meanwhile I will be out of a job, without any valid ratings and with a medical restriction. The likelihood of further employment is minimal, in or out of aviation.

Joining BALPA was the best thing I have done. I cannot say enough for them. The support I have received is all that has kept me going. BALPA have helped me explore everyway possible of resolving the issue within the company, hence the lack of publicity to date. Sadly, the company appear to suffer from the belief that by sacking me the problem they created will go away. Since legal action(s) are now inevitable (unless they change their minds asp), the support of BALPA will be invaluble to me over the next three to five years of legal action. It is not just that they are picking up the tab for the legal fees (they will no doubt get it back when the judge awards costs), but the psychological support I have received from all at New Road. To visit/support me, the BALPA team really had to go the extra mile. And not just once.

Thank you, Robin, Chris, Reg, Maggie and Julie. When walking ten yards was a battle for me, you helped me fight the bastards and not give up.

Thanks as well to all the pilots at ***** and BA, for their visits and support. A big thanks of course to the medics for getting me back to a limited flying catagory.

Join BALPA. When it really matters, they are there.

26th Jan 2002, 20:59
Well said EC

28th Jan 2002, 02:57


basil fawlty
28th Jan 2002, 05:50
The only way to guarantee a good improvement in the pilots lot is industrial action. With the state of the industry at the present time, airlines on the brink of insolvency etc. this is simply a non starter. Maybe a partial redistribution of wealth from the top end to the new starters would be a fair place to start but I can't see that happening!! Train drivers via ASLEF get good results simply because although the system is broken up into different operating companies there is still little or no competition. They can go on strike, and the captive market is still there when the situation has been resolved!!There is simply too much competition in the airline business. Also there is a shortage of train drivers right now, therefore they can command good pay. There is a positive glut of commercial pilots, and the law of supply and demand states that salaries will not go up....LOOK at the FACTS, and GET USED TO IT. Pilots are one of only a few groups I know of who seem to think that they deserve a pay rise in times of economic famine!