View Full Version : Long time coming

28th Mar 2006, 12:09
House of Lords Ruling (http://www.cathaypilotsunion.org/HoL/HoL.htm)

This should be interesting.

49er Captain George Crofts Receives Landmark Ruling in UK House of Lords

Crofts v Veta

Captain George Crofts is the 49er plaintiff in the UK legal actions. Since July 2001, the UK legal arguments have centered on jurisdiction: whether a pilot working for Cathay Pacific Airways, or its subsidiaries, is covered by UK employment legislation. In May 2005, the Appeals Court ruled that Veta pilots (those flying Cathay Pacific Airways aircraft but based in the UK) were covered by the UK Employment Rights Act.

Veta appealed to the House of Lords and the case was heard in November 2005, with the judgment being handed down in January 2006. The House of Lords ruled in favour of Captain Crofts.

In summary, Captain Crofts has had jurisdictional rulings in his favour at the Employment Tribunal, the Employment Appeal Tribunal, the Court of Appeal and now, finally, in the House of Lords. Throughout, Veta has been ordered to pay costs. Captain Crofts will now put the facts of his case – for breach of contract and unfair dismissal – before the Employment Tribunal. This will be the first time that the unjust events of July 2001 will be aired publicly in court and we anticipate substantial world-wide coverage. Notwithstanding the circumstances of the dismissal, the ruling has greatly enhanced UK job protection, not only for UK Veta pilots, but also for other “peripatetic employees” – people who are based in one country but whose work constantly takes them to different places. They are now all covered by the UK Employment Rights Act.

28th Mar 2006, 13:36
Very surprised that no comments flurish about it on this site!?

28th Mar 2006, 21:20
What a result! Bet if your STN based, for a certain Low Cost Carrier this will bing a smile to your face. AT LAST!

Colonel Klink
28th Mar 2006, 23:25
It will be interesting to see this bloke prove unfair dismissal from Cathay; the odds are against him!!!

29th Mar 2006, 00:11
So is the Colonel a lawyer? Cathay has already paid into court in HK for the same complaint, people who think they will win don't usually do that. And I reckon the UK courts will be more labour friendly than the HK ones.

29th Mar 2006, 08:30
Well done George,

Obvious this will have the CX management and their Cohorts at KA spitting their Congee. This should mean UK and as a result European Employment Legislation applying to those carriers who use flag of convenience companies in the UK to dilute the emloyment conditions of their crews when compared to their Hong Kong( or otherwise) based colleagues.

While the full ruling is yet to be digested, It could open the door for claims of unfair and unequal treatment.

It may well be the end of that management statement " Well whilst we realise you are UK based, Hong Kong Law applies in your employment".

Sorry Headmaster, your cane has just been taken away.............

Ricky Whizz
29th Mar 2006, 08:52
Dear Colonel,

Methinks you have missed the point. Unless this case is settled out of court Cathay will be required to enter a defense on the charge that George and the other 49ers were unlawfully dismissed and had their contracts breached. This is something which they have tried very hard to prevent - at great expense.

Cathay made some pretty interesting statements in the aftermath of 9th July 2001 which I suspect would conflict with the likely defense of being terminated under the terms of the contract.

Defeat for Cathay on the issue of jurisdiction is huge and I for one applaud George his supporters for their perseverance.

Ricky Whizz
29th Mar 2006, 09:20
Dear Colonel,

With regard to your second post on this matter, you make the same mistake that Cathay did.

George and the others had their contracts terminated - none were dismissed for any offence. If they had been, there was a process contained within the contract which should have been followed.

It wasn't.

Hence breach of contract and unfair dismissal follow on from Cathay's statements in the aftermath of the 'terminations'.

29th Mar 2006, 10:15
RW is correct. Cathay has said the 49'ers were not dismissed for any particular reason, just "loss of confidence".

Any other reasons are not now valid.

Colonel Klink
29th Mar 2006, 12:03

I have not missed the point but I appreciate your comments. I do not condone any airline dismissing its employess for improper reason, as I believe was the case here and I applaud the 49ers for sticking with it for so long and making the company pay. Sacking any worker for a lck of confidence is hardly reason to let anyone go, particularly a skilled worker like Flight Crew.

29th Mar 2006, 13:25
You do seem to still be missing the point. Its quite possible that had CX wanted to dismiss someone with due grounds they could have, but this is not the case here.

Ricky Whizz
29th Mar 2006, 13:36

Please, please can we get over the use of the words dismissed or fired in this case. The 49ers had their contracts terminated.

It may on the surface seem to be nit picking, but it isn't.

Had the 49ers been fired or dismissed, then Cathay management, under the terms of the contract, would have had to have gone through due process. This would have taken time and would not have served Cathay managements purpose - which, lest we forget, was designed to intimidate the rest of the pilot workforce so that they would not carry out their threat of industrial action.

So, whether Cathay (in your opinion CK) would have had cause to dismiss an individual if they had gone through the discipline and grievance procedure in the contract is irrelevant. The problem for Cathay is that they did not go through that process, but then made general public statements about the performance of the pilots concerned.

I have to say, Colonel, that it is disappointing to me that you feel able to make such insinuations about a named individual from behind a cloak of anonymity. I am surprised that the Moderator of this forum allows it.

Turn and Burn
1st Apr 2006, 16:23
I agree with everything that Ricky Whizz says. That standard grievance procedures were not followed brings CX management into disrepute and is surely the issue on which the Tribunal will focus.
That said, the wisdom of the AOA has to be questioned in respect of the candidate they have put forward to head up the case. There is a copy of the Sun circulating in which there is a report of one of Crofts' earlier court cases from 1996. The article states that, during an argument in the car park, Crofts' hit his mistress so hard that a front tooth lodged in the roof of her mouth. Sometime after the event he is said to have taken a drug overdose. Had he revealed to CX at the interview that he had a criminal record and had he revealed to CX medics that he had taken a drug overdose, he would not have been employed.
Crofts is not unknown in UK aviation circles, nor is he unknown in Aussie aviation circles where he was an 89er. Previous workmates in Dan Air, Airtours, Astraeus and Ansett will remember him for sure. Some of them will agree with me that Crofts is an unfortunate choice to present before the tribunal.
If there is sufficient interest I will post the newspaper article on this forum, moderator permitting.

1st Apr 2006, 16:38
Is this the same George Crofts that woked for BIA and briefly for AirUK on the BAC1-11?

Colonel Klink
1st Apr 2006, 17:29
Turn and Burn,
Thank you, My sentiments exactly!! He was also at Air Europe, Bangkok Airways and Fokker for a very short time. He also flew a corporate 727 for a while as well. He was not in Ansett, but TAA, later known as Australian Airlines.

Ricky Whizz
2nd Apr 2006, 09:42
Turn and burn,

With regard to this case and the AOA's choice, I have a feeling that George Crofts is now the only UK VETA employee left taking action against Cathay Pacific/VETA (no doubt someone will correct me if I am wrong).

I also think that it is correct that the AOA is no longer supplying funds to this case. Nor are they funding any other legal action by the 49ers. This is as a result of deal struck between Cathay management and the AOA.

It amazes me that when faced with the enormity of a case such as this, all some pilots want to do is talk about the failings of an individual.

Cathay formed VETA so that they could have aircrew work more cheaply than if they had been hired by Cathay and been based in Hong Kong. Even though these aircrew were based overseas, Cathay had their contracts drawn up under Hong Kong law. Then, in 2001, they terminated the contracts of 50 pilots rather than come to an agreement about rostering - an agreement had been promised in 1999 during the 'sign or be fired' negotiations that went on to introduce three years of pay cuts. A small number of those pilots are now back working for Cathay - which begs the question: What were they terminated/fired/dismissed for that would make them acceptable to be re-employed 4 years later?

We could go on and discuss what Cathay did and how it affected the individuals, how Cathay continued to intimidate the aircrew body after the terminations or even how this case affects the contracts of other workers in the UK on 'overseas' contracts.

Maybe those of you who feel that these issues are not important could leave this posting and start another called 'What I think of George Crofts.' where you could amuse each other with great stories about what he might or might not have done. Maybe you could also post under your real names so that those that know you could add stories about what you might or might not have done - get my drift?

Turn and Burn
2nd Apr 2006, 12:04
I agree that this case should stand on its legal merits alone. The problem is, legal issues are dealt with by real people who are prone to subjective judgements. If one of the members of the Tribunal is a lady whose daughter has recently been beaten up by a violent boyfriend, would her judgement be affected in this case? The argument is that the 49ers were dismissed without having been given a reason, the implication being that the dismissals were unjustified. If CX produce Crofts file at the Tribunal, as I suspect they shall, the Tribunal may well say that the procedure CX adopted was wrong. But, in the light of Crofts' file, they are unlikely to agree that Crofts' dismissal was unjustified. If Crofts' file is seen as being typical of the files of the other 49ers, then they are all in danger of being tarred with the same brush. Crofts' case has established that UK employment law can be applied to overseas employees. That is a significant victory. If I were Crofts I would quit whilst I was ahead. The Tribunal hearing could be messy.

2nd Apr 2006, 13:00
Turn and Burn

If you have the Sun article re the '96 court appearance and conviction, then let's see it or drop the whole thing.

2nd Apr 2006, 13:47
Turn & Burn, that's a lot of "ifs"...:hmm:

Colonel Klink
2nd Apr 2006, 16:52
Turn and Burn,

I think there are many who would like to see this article in the Sun reproduced on these pages,



Ricky Whizz
3rd Apr 2006, 02:07

Really? What relevance would this article have to this case?

3rd Apr 2006, 07:36
Well said Ricky. Methinks there is a sub agenda here somewhere.....perhaps the thread should be renamed as 'Personal vendettas against George Crofts. Stick to the thread, or start another one with the correct title.:cool:

Ricky Whizz
3rd Apr 2006, 08:03
Turn and burn,

Getting back to the point of the case, you said:

The argument is that the 49ers were dismissed without having been given a reason, the implication being that the dismissals were unjustified.

You are wrong.

The contracts of the 49ers were terminated - they were not dismissed. If Cathay choses to try to argue that they were dismissed then they will be on a very sticky wicket because they did not follow the procedure contained within the contract. This is why Cathay tried so very hard to have the case thrown out on jurisdictional issues - they DO NOT want to argue the case in court. The case will be argued on it's merits because that's what lawyers do. This is real life - not TV!!

For those of you who rely on the Sun for your judgement of others - my sympathies.

PS. My own opinion is that Cathay will try to settle before the court date (if they can) or will simply admit the charges without entering any evidence.

PPS. Let's say that Cathay did try to prove that there was a case for dismissal (which they won't for the reason that I have already given). They would look pretty dumb if they tried to introduce an event that seems to have occurred BEFORE Capt Crofts joined Cathay - wouldn't they? A shame then that Cathay's lawyers are undoubtedly able to think more clearly than some that post on this forum.

Turn and Burn
4th Apr 2006, 15:27
The interview process includes questions on criminal record and drug abuse. If you choose not to reveal your past history and then the company subsequently discovers that you do have a criminal record and that you had taken a drug overdose, the company would be within their rights to dismiss you. The vast majority of interviews are accepted at face value. I see no reason why CX should have egg on their face if an issue is discovered after the interview process is complete.

4th Apr 2006, 16:27
T&B, you seem singularly able to keep missing the point. As was the point of this case, 'George and the others had their contracts terminated - none were dismissed for any offence. If they had been, there was a process contained within the contract which should have been followed.'

If you feel that George Croft should have his skeletons aired for whatever reason then it isn't going to happen on this thread. This thread is about the 49'ers and the termination, apparently outside of the law as it should have been applied to them of their contracts.

If VETA had wanted to dismiss GC because of anything else then they should have followed the correct procedures, which it appears they didn't. They dismissed GC and the others constructively and therefore will now have to deal with that particular issue at an English Employment Tribunal.

Ricky Whizz
5th Apr 2006, 05:11

Let's say for arguments sake that they discovered that GC was a terribly bad boy after they had given him the job.

Why did they not go through their own D&G procedure that was contained in their contract with him and then dismiss him?