View Full Version : What have BALPA ever done for us?

Justin Cyder-Belvoir
28th Nov 2001, 22:18
Now, today I received an email, by accident.
It was from BALPA but should have only been sent to certain addressees; regrettably for BALPA I had been on the original list of addressees and shouldn't have got the comment email. Slip of the "reply " function if you like. :o

Now, what's the highest bid for the PPRuNe fund - all dosh to INFIN and good causes - to get the absolute low down on the BALPA attitude ( unexpurgated ) from an exceptionally high level in the organisation ?

Could make a certain InFin happy for Xmas
Honest, it's worth the money - you will never BELIEVE what it says ! :eek: :eek:

Busta Level
28th Nov 2001, 22:45
Please, please, please post it! I fancy giving myself a 1% payrise for christmas! :D

28th Nov 2001, 23:21
What has Balpa ever done for us? About as much as the Romans.

28th Nov 2001, 23:34
JCB-stop being like my 4 year old and post the bloody thing so we can all know what is going on. God knows, we don't hear anything from BALPA these days. Guess they're saving the postage given the financial trouble...

29th Nov 2001, 00:01
JCB..... Don't keep us in suspenders. The performance of the BALPA head office is well and truly under the spot light at the moment so put us out of our misery. :eek:

Say again s l o w l y
29th Nov 2001, 00:18
Go on post it, it may help me to decide wether or not to carry on subscribing. Might be nice to see where all the money goes.
:rolleyes: :confused:

[ 28 November 2001: Message edited by: Say again s l o w l y ]

29th Nov 2001, 04:42
Judging by the manifestos for the recent BA Company Council elections BALPA finances would seem to need some careful scrutiny.

Capt Veeclean
29th Nov 2001, 12:38
Go on - ctrl-c then ctrl-v then bingo! Go ooon, go ooon, go ooon!

The Guvnor
29th Nov 2001, 13:02
OK, here's the one I received

From: Chris Darke
To: Rod Eddington

Dear Skippy

Thanks for the brown envelope. As promised, I'll deliver the votes to make sure the 50% pay cut for mainline and the increase in duty hours through not counting bunk time goes ahead. Two star hotels down route shouldn't be a problem either; though you might have trouble with the cockroaches/rats and cabin crew.

I told you that our plan with CitiExpress would work - next step of course is to transfer the remainder of shorthaul into it.

Of course, 1% of the much reduced salaries won't cover our expenses here so you'll need to keep the bungs coming.

Don't worry - I'll deliver. I always have. Just ask Colin and Bob.


29th Nov 2001, 13:23
COME ON, JUST POST IT. You can't come on here saying "guess what I've got on balpa" and then not post it.

I wonder how many of us are contemplating cancelling balpa membership at the moment?

you too huh? :rolleyes:

29th Nov 2001, 16:19
Come on chaps!!!

We're all sitting on the edge of our seats waiting for this little revelation from the New Road Empire.

There is this saying:- "P**S or get off the pot"

29th Nov 2001, 18:09
Perhaps the General Secretary's payrise and pension rights for next year would be better spent on IT training for the staff!!

29th Nov 2001, 18:19
On the assumption that lots of pilots are only members for the legal protection, has anyone got any knowledge of "Aircrew Legal Protection Limited"? They seem to offer pure insurance without all the bells and whistles of BALPA. Anyone know what their claims record is like?

29th Nov 2001, 18:36

E-mail me privately and I'll give you their details.

Their strike rate: 100%


29th Nov 2001, 18:59
"For example we would be out of business pretty quick if we spent £12,000 on every member that paid £40 then got into trouble and expected Balpa to take up his Tribunal. By rule legal provision is not an absolute right it is at the discretion of the NEC..."
Reg Allen
Assistant General Secretary

Is this what you are all talking about?


29th Nov 2001, 23:21
Believe me the BALPA legal help is worthless, don't join BALPA for it. They only do stuff that they are politically interested in.

That sounds like sour grapes to me. BALPA will not throw their members' money down the drain fighting lost causes, but if you've got a case they'll back it. Or do you know better??

Justin Cyder-Belvoir
29th Nov 2001, 23:33
Dear Chalky,

Got a case?
Got a case ?
Got a case ?

All I said was I had an email ! The content of which is reproduced below:

"Whilst we have not elaborated on this it would also be dependant upon his
subscription history. For example we would be out of business pretty quick
if we spent £12,000 on every member that paid £40 then got into trouble and
expected Balpa to take up his Tribunal. By rule legal provision is not an
absolute right it is at the discretion of the NEC. Mr X appears to have
accepted your reason from the outset, I have no knowledge of what the
Tribunal have found and it looks as though it will go to appeal.
What exactly is his expectation of Balpa, why should we become involved now?
Reg Allen
Assistant General Secretary"

OK so its Xmas and this one appears to have done more rounds than Santa; and there was me thinking I was only extraneous addressee. B*gg*r.

Still, it looks like you only get BALPA support if you have been a member for centureis, or since Pontius himself was a pilot. Why not check www.alpl.com (http://www.alpl.com) ? At least they support your claim regardless.

Lou Scannon
29th Nov 2001, 23:53
Is that it Justin?

30th Nov 2001, 01:18
Thanks Chalky, but it is not sour grapes, things have worked out better without BALPA's help, I was told that I had not been a member long enough to warrant BALPA's legal support although I know of two cases of non members that BALPA has supported. Unfortunately, because of the nature of these types of cases they rarely can be discussed openly; I wish I could give out more details but I will have to leave it at that.

[ 29 November 2001: Message edited by: grounded1 ]

30th Nov 2001, 01:33
Is that it?

I know BALPA is not perfect but I do happen to know personally of at least two people who joined BALPA because they knew they had an employment 'difficulty' in the offing.

I know they also don't back lost causes.

I am glad they are being prudent with our subscriptions.

30th Nov 2001, 11:56
Join the IPA folks. They don't spend your money on expensive junkets and inflated salaries.

30th Nov 2001, 14:10
As a BALPA member, I tried to get hold of their "legal representation".

All I got was the phone number of one of our own pilots, who I could quite happily talk to for free in the crew-room.

Every cloud though... I am now £44 per month better off having cancelled the subscription. :)

Justin Cyder-Belvoir
30th Nov 2001, 20:25
Reg has sent me another email this time excusing what he said in the first one:
My email was not intended to go directly to you, I would have chosen my
words a good deal more carefully had I been directly addressing yourself,
but that is by the by. You may not be too aware of this but at the moment
every area of expenditure within Balpa is under review. Our legal spend is
fairly hefty when compared to income and a significant part of that legal
spend is in defending members at Tribunal.

So here's an open post to Reg:

Dear Reg,

If you dont want to email people and spread the word dont just hit REPLY coz you never know where your mail will go !


PS Except at Xmas when I hope Im on your Xmas list.Luv and kisses.

30th Nov 2001, 20:55
Hey Reg,

If you pop down to your local Tech college they may give a Chrissy discount on an e-mail course. It shouldn't knock too big a hole in your end or year bonus

Watch that reply button now!!

Bemused MP :p

Norman Stanley Fletcher
30th Nov 2001, 22:00
What's the problem? Reg seemed entirely right to me. He has a responsibility to back the right causes with other members' money. It is common sense, and he seems to be applying it well.

Karma Police
30th Nov 2001, 22:05
Heres a story for you:

My company advises us of a discusion re salary reductions. BALPA is contacted, aranges a meeting with a few pilots and offers to email the outcome of said meeting to me if i provide my email address. Email address is provided but almost a week after the meeting still no email from BALPA. So i contact BALPA and they tell me they should have sent me an email but if i resubmit my address they will send it again. OK so i get the email (eventually)
Now this email tells me that another meeting was organised for the day after the first (hope youre keeping up with all this)This meeting was between BALPA and our MD and i was to expect the result of this meeting in (you guessed it) another email.
Surprise surprise a couple of weeks later still no email. So last monday i call BALPA and enquire about progress, the chap i need to speak to is unavailable and will contact me. I leave my number. Its now friday eve and i have been at home pretty much all week and still no call. Alright i have popped to the shops once or twice but even if i was totally unavilable they have my email address. just checked and my inbox is empty.
Guess what though i did get one letter from BALPA this week..... it was a letter advising that the subs dept had checked with my employer and as my salary had gone up so would my subscriptions!!!
suffice to say i am now reviewing my membership position. :confused:

Capt PPRuNe
30th Nov 2001, 22:15
FYI, ALPL who the IPA use for their legal protection have exactly the same clause regarding 'lost causes'. No legal protection is going to protect you if your case is obviously flawed and has no chance of success so those of you having a go at BALPA legal protection have absolutely no idea what you are harping on about.

Also, as a BALPA member I had only been with them a few months when the company I was flying for suffered a tragic crash and I had to be interviewed by the police on behalf of the coroner because of a statement by a pax on a flight the previous day where I had been F/O to the Capt who was killed in the crash and had alleged we had said something. I immediately contacted BALPA who put me in touch with the lawyers and although there was no need for them in the end it was reassuring to get useful advice as soon as it was required and that in itself made my mind up to remain a member. It only takes one idiot who wants to be in the limelight to make something up about you and you do not realise how deep in the brown stuff you can find yourself.

Aside from that I have been on the BALPA Airworthiness Study Group, one of many groups of pilots who are involved with various aspects of our business and having seen some of the many other things that BALPA do to make sure our jobs are as safe and protected as can be with their other lobby groups it never ceases to amaze me how some of you resort to statements of which you have no idea what you harp on about! There is a lot more to BALPA than legal protection. You would do well to find out how BALPA started and why! :eek:

I have no problem with people criticising BALPA where necessary and allow it on here but in this instance to read how some of you are having a go at someone for an error with their email you should see some of the stuff I get from many of you out there who are luddites of the n'th degree and I could have a field day with some of the hundreds of emails that arrive here at PPRuNe Towers every day from supposedly professionals who handle multi million pound/dollar heavy metal but when it comes to using a computer they are not the sharpest tool in the box! :rolleyes:

Yes, BALPA has made some faux pas in the past and have paid the price but hopefully they have also learnt from any mistakes. They do not get off scott free because of the debates on this forum but some of you need to seriously grow up and research a bit more before spouting off as some of the replies on this thread indicate!

speed check
30th Nov 2001, 22:50
well said all .What has BALPA for us, even the romans got a better deal !.
As for us flight engineers what have balpa done for us ? over to you chris.
(membership renewal save £50 per month sounds good to me )

The Prisoner
30th Nov 2001, 23:10
Does anybody realise that the top ranking BALPA officials earn over 100,000 pounds/year. Well, I hope you get good service and results? NOT!!

1st Dec 2001, 03:45
Yes Danny, BALPA do use the same legal sources as the IPA, TGU and even your legal cover from your house or other insurer, the difference is the cost and it's a big difference. As for protecting our interests, the IPA is much more 'hands on' than the politically inclined BALPA, they prevented BA hiring American pilots when BALPA waived the idea through, they also address the thorny issue of flagging out vigorously. BALPA are in many respects reminiscent of the old style unions.

speed check
1st Dec 2001, 13:23
:mad: Well said. BALPA do not always listen
to its members. why should we the membership pay 1% of our hardearned to receive little or no representation.Does anyone know what the ATC guys pay or those who are at the first rung of the ladder of aviation yet pay nothing . :mad: :mad: :mad: :mad: :mad:

1st Dec 2001, 14:56
ALPL let you know exactly where you stand when you join.

Do BALPA? :confused:

Hot Wings
1st Dec 2001, 18:25
So how come nearly every other professional union in the land charges only £60 or £70 pa in subs (including the PFA!!!) yet many BALPA members are paying that much per month?

[ 01 December 2001: Message edited by: Hot Wings ]

1st Dec 2001, 18:48
They are a business and need an income to provide all their services and pay their staff.

When you splash out £100K plus for a head man what are the minions paid? Their location does not lend itself to a low cost base. Perhaps a trading estate with cheapo office space, cheap council tax etc etc may be the answer.

You must ask yourself how many people actually visit New Road, apart from the staff?

MP :confused:

1st Dec 2001, 20:30
OK Guys; who does IPA have negotiating rights with?

What really pi$$e$ me off is:
1 People who freeload in a BALPA airline and
2 Those who moan about the 1%. Without exception those paying the 1% get more back in improved pay and conditions than those who are in companies where BALPA is not present.

Yes, BALPA get it wrong sometimes and yes CD does get well paid but there again I donít do too badly myself, thanks to a high percentage of members and a hardworking CC. (Yes I know they donít please all the people all the time) I have been a member for longer than most and I have felt sufficiently strongly in the past about the 1% to put a private members motion to the Annual Conference.

Personally I think that BALPA are quite justified in denying legal representation to people who join after the event. I would in fact go further and say that they should not have anything to do with a pilot who is not a member, even when by doing so it increases the legal costs; which was the case at Kegworth.

If you are going to moan about BALPA at least tell us what company you are in, which in my case is "BY".

1st Dec 2001, 20:55

I think that you may have missed one of the edicts of BALPA in that THEY decide whether you get legal assistance regardless of the length of membership or if you were a member at the time.

It may well be that had you been a member when your initial problems arose they would have declined to help. That is something we will never know! If in THEIR opinion you haven't got a cat in hell's chance of winning.....

In the meantime, hang in there and don't lose faith, difficult but it's worth it in the long run.

MP ;)

1st Dec 2001, 22:53
Lucky old you!

Cynical MP :cool:

speed check
1st Dec 2001, 22:55
Sorry vee 2 but ive been in for years now with litte joy from balpa. Money down the pan as far as im concerned .(Do we get refunds!) :mad: :mad: :mad: :mad: :mad:

2nd Dec 2001, 00:27
Hit the "Add Reply" button too quick last time!

I've lost 15% of my salary and that was with BALPA's help!!

C'est la vie

MP :mad:

Young Paul
2nd Dec 2001, 01:05
The free-loading charge is frequently levelled against ... er, free-loaders. May I respond?

Firstly, an open-ended 1% strikes me as too much. What that means is that, for every 100 pilots, the organisation can employ one person at their average salary. Does a union really need to be staffed / have overheads at that level? The IPA manages with £60 per member maximum - plus I think a proposed £5 per month for the union side. This seems to be a lot more closely connected with an organisation of people who are there firstly to help one another, than an organisation which exists to support itself.

Secondly, as far as freeloading is concerned. People who aren't in the union have no say in the pay/conditions debate, so they have no right to have their voice heard. I think that for the most part they accept this. However, at the end of the day, a company has to agree terms and conditions with somebody. If they can't negotiate with a union, they will have to work something out. Whilst it might be OK to impose terms and conditions when there is an abundance of pilots, it won't be so great for the airline if as soon as good times come, everyone employed by them says, "Your terms and conditions suck. I quit!" So there is a balance of interests that means that whoever a company negotiates with, it should end up with something sensible in the long term.

Thirdly, I have always been responsible for my own actions. I am philosophically uneasy about the idea that, if I do something wrong, or dodgy, then something bigger than me (other than my employer) should carry the burden for it. So I have always been uneasy about the whole legal protection side of things. I think as people who are accountable for every landing, there should be a bias to this amongst pilots anyway. On the other hand, certain employers have, in the past, had a tendency to sack first and pick up the tab for compensation afterwards, if they can get away with it. So this attitude might one day lose me a job ....

2nd Dec 2001, 10:24
I think representation and the justification of the monthly fee depends on your personal circumstances, the company you work for and your own attitude towards work and responsibility. Whether BALPA do anything for you also depends on the same things. Value for money is quite a subjective judgement. There are probably people for whom it is a very good idea and people for whom it is a waste of money and lots in between. I think if BALPA were to offer more on the advice and services side and less direct intervention it would be a more worthwhile investment for those in smaller companies. It would also leave them less open to accusations of cosying up to large company management.

Coming back to the original point, do BALPA pay an insurance premium for legal protection or underwrite the risk themselves? If the latter then surely this is why there is a variation in the level of help received. They cannot possibly be a large enough organisation to underwrite these kind of risks effectively.

[ 02 December 2001: Message edited by: Bash ]

2nd Dec 2001, 13:25
I've had enough of BALPA..........
Can someone please post the web address of the IPA so that I can join an organisation which may actually do something in my interest.


2nd Dec 2001, 16:29
I'm not anti BALPA.

I just wish they would do more at Head Office level for us and charge a more realistic fee for their many services.

I have seen two members of our CC go long term sick. Perhaps if BALPA Head Office had been more pro-active this may not have happened....

But then I'm only an outsider looking and not privy to the "big picture".


2nd Dec 2001, 16:38
If the company act illegaly then any organistion can pursue them, it doesn't have to be BALPA. They have no more power then any other representative body. The insurance company ultimately picks up the tab.

speed check
2nd Dec 2001, 16:48
Hands up those who think BALPA give value for money ? :p

The Guvnor
2nd Dec 2001, 17:43
StressFree - IPA website is here! (http://www.ipapilot.com/)

3rd Dec 2001, 13:51
My experience is almost identical to Karma Police.

BALPA rep claimed "not to be aware of my situation". The same response he gave to other pilots in the same situation at the same company. Told he would contact me, by e-mail 3 weeks ago.

I'm still waiting.

This is the only time I've tried to use BALPA in my 3 years' membership and it is not good enough. Hence the cancelled subscription.

Big Tudor
3rd Dec 2001, 19:36
BALPA is still a strong representative body in the UK as their recent success at JMC has proved. However, recent history has shown trade unions powers can diminish rather rapidly. You only have to look to miners, steelworkers or shipbuilders in the UK to realise that union membership is no guarantee of job or conditions, to say nothing of the events at GCHQ during the '80s.
It is worth bearing in mind events in the US in the '80s when a small number of idealogical union leaders came up against some hot-headed company CEO's. Whilst it could be argued that some of the airlines that disappeared during this time had existed beyond their natural lives, there were a large number of pilots cast onto the dole-queue as a result of the beliefs of their representatives.
The question is - Are BALPA working for me or are they more concerned with their own ideals and beliefs?