View Full Version : Intimidation in the Aviation Workplace=Poor Outcomes

6th Oct 2009, 00:40
Aviation is run by bean counters.
Bean counters abhor aircraft delays or diversions.They cost money and dilute the bottom line profit.
So the pressure is on.No diversions.No delays
Mechanical problems are one thing.Weather is something else.
Take the dust storms in Sydney recently.Diversions and delays everywhere.
Operations, the nerve centre of any airline,feels the pressure most of all in these situations.The pressure is then transferred to operating crews.Both pilots and cabin crew.
Intimidate, cajole and threaten crews to extend tours of duty in order to return aircraft to some semblance of schedule.
Australia is an end of line destination at the southern end of the world.
Most of Australian based crews fly back of the clock to return to base.
Crews inbound from the West Coast of America routinely clock up tours of duty of over sixteen hours.Throw in a weather initiated diversion and these crews quickly approach duty hour limitations.
This can result in passengers aircraft and crews remaining for an extended period of time in the port of diversion.
So operations begin negotiating with crews and calculating duty limitations.
Things become a little blurred and heated.Crews already fatigued need to make informed decisions regarding "go or stay"under pressure from management.The weather is a how long is a piece of string situation.
In Australia there are EBAs,fatigue protocols and EEO legislation that come into play in these situations.They are often ignored by Airline managment .
Make a decision to extend your TOD and then make a catastophic mistake and you are culpable.Not management.Not operations.You.
The fact that you were threatened and intimidated means northing.You made the decision to extend.
After the dust storms subsided allegations of intimidation by Qantas began to emerge.The Flight Attendants Association has become involved and an investigation is underway.There will be consequences.
All workplaces in Australia have EEO protocols in place.Intimidation in the workplace is forbidden.Implied perceived or otherwise.
It has been going on for years.
Hopefully the outcome of this investigation will see the practice cease.
There is already enough stress in the aviation industry

6th Oct 2009, 01:38
Fisher ghost, I agree the only thing preventing less than desired outcomes is yourself.

Professionalism supporting good Airmanship is all we can rely on.

Extend my tour of duty....Nope sorry I may be fatigued(and if not now then more than likely by the time I complete the duty).

6th Oct 2009, 03:18
Long hours will cause crashes, warn pilots. October 6, 2009 - 12:41PM
Planes will crash if flying hours for pilots are not cut, organisers of a Europe-wide protest action warned yesterday, saying crew fatigue is as dangerous for passenger safety as pilots drinking.

Campaigners representing pilots, engineers and crew in 36 European countries distributed some 100,000 fake boarding passes with the slogan 'Dead tired' in airports across the continent.

They launched their protest in Brussels, calling for changes to European Union pilot fatigue law "to prevent such risks from turning into fatal accidents."

Campaigners warned that airlines are "more concerned with costs" after batterings first from oil price rises and then, after prices fell back, from a global recession hitting business and tourist travel.

Scientists from Britain, France, Germany, the Netherlands and Sweden want EU law changed in line with new US rules brought in after 50 people died in a crash in Buffalo, New York, this year.

"Pilot fatigue is considered to be a contributory cause to 15-20 per cent of all fatal aircraft accidents," Martin Chalk, head of the European Cockpit Association, told reporters.

While he said there is as yet no equivalent test to determine fatigue levels, he said that "the effects of fatigue are as damaging as the effects of alcohol intoxication" or drugs.

The head of the association's cabin crew section, Inger-Helene Enger, warned that even longer hours for stewards can also prove lethal -- citing another accident in the United States.

On that occasion, a stewardess forgot to close properly the passenger entry door.

Research commissioned by the European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) recommended more than a year ago that pilots or cabin crew "should never be routinely asked to work for longer than 13 hours without a break" and that night-work should not exceed 10 hours.

Current EU rules allow for a maximum of 14 hours a day -- and 11 hours 45 minutes overnight -- with national safety bodies allowed, as in Britain, to authorise longer shifts.

In Australia, the Civil Aviation Safety Authority regulations state that a pilot cannot be rostered to work a 'tour of duty' of more than 11 hours and must not log more than eight hours flight time during a work period.

The scientists' Moebus Report -- mandated by the EU in September 2008 -- said the risk of accidents is five-and-a-half times greater when pilots work 13 hours or more.

"Without hesitation, the US regulator has taken swift and decisive action," said campaign literature of the US response to the Buffalo crash.

An example of a "legal but unsafe" working schedule saw a Spanish pilot work 13 hours 35 minutes, going from Madrid to Malabo in Equatorial Guinea on Africa's west coast and back to Madrid, before undertaking a return trip to Moscow the next day in the last day of a 60-hour working week.

Protests took place in airports across Europe but individual pilots in Britain are banned from protesting on airport soil.

At Amsterdam-Schipol airport, around 60 pilots distributed 'Dead tired' material to passengers.

"We cannot accept working up to 12 hours at night," Frans Botmsn of the Dutch pilots union said.

The EASA says it is still considering the scientific evidence before drafting new rules while the EU commission says it is treating the scientific report as a high "priority".

Mr. Hat
6th Oct 2009, 03:57
You are better off contacting the relevant authorities if you feel you are being intimidated or bullied in the workplace. Off the top of my head Fair Work Australia and the Equal Opportunity commission would be where you would start.

mates rates
6th Oct 2009, 05:11
Which is why you need to fly for an airline that operates to CAO 48 because it is the law of the land. And not this EBA fatigue management bull s$#t,which is like putting dracula in charge of the blood bin.

Roller Merlin
6th Oct 2009, 05:26
Fully agree with all above. Long hours=less number of tech crews required to be scheduled = longer routes = $$ for an airline, all at the cost of our fatigue and lifestyles, and resulting in fewer jobs in the industry.

Management have incrementally pushed the cost boundaries with CASA regarding duty time and gained CAO 48 waivers too easily. I am yet to see valid data to support any CASA waivers. European and FAA data is now starting to prove what pilots have been saying for years - this is LESS SAFE and the regulators need to reset the datum again.:\

6th Oct 2009, 05:45
Aviation is run by bean counters.

Only partly true...

I run a company, I aint no bean counter but we all know how to save.

6th Oct 2009, 07:50
In my view this has nothing to do with bean counting.

fishers.ghost has set out a reasonable description of a major, longhaul, disruption due weather, except that it has been loaded up with understandable emotional stuff.

For example, the pressure isn't coming from "Managememt", it's coming from harassed Crew rostering and Ops Control folk, who really just want a decision, any decision, so they can make a recovery plan.

As f.g says, the crews would love to help if someone with a crystal ball could say "all clear as a bell by x time".

There is confidence that no Captain or CSM is going to compromise safety, therefore the question "What are your intentions" is merely a request for a definitive decision.

Been going on forever, and will always be the case, because nobody wants to strand the passenger if it can be avoided.

The only thing that is new is "stress". Wasn't around in my day:ok:

6th Oct 2009, 08:43
When push comes to shove Captains stand their ground and are not intimidated by implied consequences.
A number of new Qantas CSMs on the other hand are easily threatened.They need to be stepped through certain situations.Ops rely on this lack of experience and knowledge to achieve a required result.There have been some interesting decisions made by A380 CSMs during delays.
Ops have been happy but the cabin crew have not.Do they get any thanks?You bet they dont
Bottom line if you dont feel competent to operate safely then dont.If something goes wrong you are toast

6th Oct 2009, 09:46
Agree with WOD, management have nothing to do with the pressure, and by the way, if you crash and it is found that you said yes under threatening circumstances or harassment then the harasser is in deep poo poo. That is why you will never have management directly say, do the duty or else and why if you simply say no, there is nothing they can do.

Problem is though you may be stuck in an outport and have to deadhead on your day off, thats how they get you.


6th Oct 2009, 21:09
And that folks is why pilots wear big watches............ so kids can pax on them

6th Oct 2009, 23:10
I had a meeting with the SA professor who worked on Fatigue Management a number of years ago.

He said there was no scientific basis behind CAO48 but he wanted to go down the Risk Management line where a single person or organisation would think of a risk then mitigate it in the FMS.

What a load of Cods Wollop!!

How can 1 person or at best a small number of people know better then 50+ years of CAO48 with millions of flight hours and tens's of thousands of pilots operating to it?

I do not know of any accident attributed to fatigue where the crew where operating within CAO48!

How can that not be scientific?

We are being over run by bureaucrats with long degrees with no experience!

6th Oct 2009, 23:15
So called academics are not always the sharpest tacks in the pack.
The grants they receive for research does have an impact on the results they produce.
Maybe 8 direct LAX back to back may have changed his perception of fatigue.Maybe throw in a couple of JoBurgs for good measure

6th Oct 2009, 23:35
Wod has nailed it.
If you are tired, don't extend.
Stop thinking about getting home for your dentist appointment or lunch in London.
The company can deal with whatever we decide, they just need to know what they have to work with.
We are our own worst enemy.

7th Oct 2009, 00:23
I can think of two major crashes where concern over duty time limitations were a FACTOR in the crash: the Teneriffe runway collision and the Cali CFIT.:uhoh: I can also recall several horror stories from compatriots about doing bar work until 1 or 2 in the morning and then having a dawn departure on a GA charter.:mad:

The recent (about 3 years ago) study into fatigue and aviation produced some remarkable results. It was conducted by Uni of SA with funding and participation from QANTAS. Some of the findings were that most fatigue management programs were a crock (including those run by some people who should know a lot better) with only 3 of the then 40 odd exemptions to CAO 48 even coming close to being a proper scheme.:ugh:

The trend in Australia is for longer and longer working hours. We are, believe it or not, one of the most productive developed countries in terms of hours worked. We have come a long way from the land of the perpetual long weekend.:sad:

watch your6
7th Oct 2009, 06:23
Pilot flight duty limitations are covered by legislation.As it should be.Being a pilot is a profession and involves enormous responsibilty.
Cabin Crew are generally not viewed as being in a profession.In fact most airlines view flight attendants as a being a necessary evil.
They generally get pushed around or threatened like small children.
In delays or diversions when duty hour limits are reached pilots get off,are replaced or accommodated.
There is however the question of who looks after the self loading freight.Cabin crew can be threatened or intimidated to extend hours in the hope that the weather or whatever caused the delay or diversion will resolve itself.
Fatigue protocols mandated by Qantas for example require self monitoring.If you believe you are fatigued dont operate.Ops and CC managemnt dont see it that way.You are simply being difficult or obstructive.You will be coerced and made to feel guilty about causing enormous inconvenience to passengers and ground staff.
The biggest threat is being disrupted or turned around.Too bad if it disrupts family arrangements or that appointment with the specialist.
Be aware of your EBA and fatigue protocols and stand your ground.
You will get no thanks from your employer.
An alleged incidence of coercion and intimidation of a CSM is currently under investigation.The outcome must surely stop the long standing practise of CC being cajoled by Ops in situations of delay,diversions and disruptions

Chocks Away
7th Oct 2009, 09:30
Great "hypothetical" there, Direct.No.Speed.
...let me guess: REX? ...orh hang on, QFlink, nuh VB/PB/V... narh, gotta be QF... wait, seriously - Jetstar, oops narh Tiger... wait EK or CX ??????????

7th Oct 2009, 11:21
You left out ASA Chocks which is whom the missive most reminds me of! Given the handle of the original poster I suspect I'm smack on the money. :ok:

7th Oct 2009, 22:55
On the recent SYD dust storm, there were a lot of diversions ADL, BNE, MEL and maybe more. I don't know about intimidation, but each diversion should be taken on it's merits. Eg: If you divert somewhere for fuel reasons, then get the fuel and on your way. If it is for a weather situation which has no predictable end, then after a 14hr flight you'd have to think about all the scenarios, even if it does cost the company money and inconvienence passengers. I don't know how the pilots and flight attendants to to/from LAX all the time. I'm stuffed for a few days every time I come back from there once or twice a year.

What isn't said is that it makes it harder to get off when you are parked on a stand off bay down at cargo.

9th Oct 2009, 02:13

An email has been widely circulated by a member of a crew that was caught up in the disruptions of the dust storm in Sydney last week.
The contents of the email indicate that she and her crew were subjected to being “asked, pushed, threatened, coerced, pleaded with, made to feel guilty” in order to extend beyond 20 hours.
We are disappointed that nobody on the crew contacted the FAAA to advise us that these alleged threats and coercion were taking place. Nonetheless these are indeed very serious allegations and if true should result in the termination of employment for those responsible for this behaviour.
The FAAA will not tolerate its members being treated in this fashion and I have contacted the Company this morning asking the Company that every one of the crew be interviewed and formal statements be taken from them to identify who carried out these threats.
Coercion and threats have no place in our work environment and these are indeed extremely serious allegations and there will be serious consequences if proven.
For the members’ information, there is no capacity for the company to vary any set limitation in the EBA except as provided by the EBA facilitative provision. It is a requirement of the Law that every EBA has a clause that allows the Company and its employees when unusual circumstances arise to reach agreements on changes to hours or work practices. These facilitative agreements are often referred to as “dispensations”. The FAAA “always” has regard not only to the interest of an individual crewmember when considering a dispensation but the overall impact on all of us.
In the circumstances on that day the FAAA was contacted by the Company and advised that there was going to be major and significant disruption to its flights for up to 24 hours or more because of the dust storm.
The Company sought the assistance of the FAAA to manage the disruption. The FAAA indicated that consistent with past practice all practical assistance would be granted. However it was made completely clear by me that individual crewmembers would have the final say about whether they would work over EBA limits based on their personal circumstances, fatigue levels and needs.
There would be no majority votes where individuals would be forced against their wishes to exceed maximum hours. If 4 crew out of 15 said that were not prepared to extend and 11 said they would, then the 11 crew would continue based on what they agreed with the Company and the remaining 4 crew would be slipped for example. These dispensations are nothing new; Melbourne based members would be particularly aware of commonplace diversions of LAX-MEL flights into Sydney or Brisbane due to fogs in Melbourne and that the FAAA has always allowed individual crew to decide if they wish to work beyond 20 hours due to the diversion.
The imputation of the member in her email is that this did not occur and that the terms of the dispensation agreed to by the FAAA were misrepresented by the Company to the crew.
A number of crew on the day contacted the FAAA for clarification around what was expected of them and were clearly advised that it was a matter for each individual to assess their own fitness to operate and that we would support any crew member who was not fit to exceed maximum hours.
It requires a dispensation from the FAAA for a crew member to even passenger into home base and relinquish rest and we grant those dispensations again depending on the individual circumstances of the member. Many have child care responsibilities and need to get home and we are not so dogmatic to take a blanket approach around the EBA and have individual members unable to exercise some choice.
A tiny minority of our members would like us (the FAAA) to take away the ability of members to decide for themselves if they are able to work beyond 20 hours, in this very isolated scenario of a diversion into an Australian port other than home base. These same individuals believe it is better to disrupt the lives of individual cabin crew, to disrupt family and social responsibilities, to subject crew to being turned around etc all in the name of “industrial purity” or some reference to fatigue, as if they are somehow experts on what constitutes fatigue and even more peculiarly as if they are experiencing fatigue on behalf of someone else and thus entitled to dictate what someone else must do. This approach is nothing more than “blinkered dogmatism”.
They also believe “they” know better as to how their fellow crew members are feeling and that “they” are entitled to have their views imposed on other members irrespective of the personal consequences for their colleagues. These individuals are often the same ones who demand “votes of the membership” when it suits their purposes but when it doesn’t suit their purposes they want the FAAA to behave as Dictator.
A once in a generation event, such as the dust storm occurs, creating havoc to crew, to passengers and to Qantas. Aircraft are “stranded” in cities throughout the country and a few of our members want to add to this chaos; by the FAAA preventing grown adults exercising their individual choice as to what is better for them.
Ladies and gentlemen, this is not the way that a responsible professional union operates in 2009. We have a challenge in 2012 of maintaining our conditions. Going out of our way to provoke the general public ( imagine the newspaper headlines) and the employer, when every cabin crew member was given the choice to work or not work beyond 20 hours is not a sensible way to go.
There are penalties under the relevant Industrial Laws and Qantas Policy for behaving in this way or making false statements.