View Full Version : Mass Sit-In BA Engineers at LGW 14/06/02

14th Jun 2002, 19:59
Thought that this deserved a wider audience........ Today at LGW the whole of the Engineering workforce , that is the workers not the (mis)management, staged a three hour stoppage in support of two collegues who were being threatened with being excluded from their normal workplace. These two people are the first of some 250 Engineers who are trying to be forcibly re-located by the company to LHR.

How were these unfortunate individuals selected ? I hear you ask........

By where they choose to live......... Seems like according to BA by living close to LGW means that you are suddenly required to report to LHR on a soul destroying 7 on 4 off, 7 on 3 off shift pattern..................

Think about that for a minute......Do you want to fly in an aeroplane that has been serviced by engineers who are perhaps on their sixth day of earlies and who have been travelling some 80 miles round trip round the most congested road in the UK ?

Aplogies to any Pax and Crew affected by todays stoppage , but as witnessed on the "Army of One " thread feelings are running high. :mad: :mad:

Harry G
14th Jun 2002, 21:27
good luck to all of you, you do a great job.

Fluke Skywalker
14th Jun 2002, 22:06
Good effort!

I can't believe they're forcing you to do that drive with your shift patterns. Safety culture? It's not worth the paper it's printed on if this is the reality. It's in times like these when management have lost the plot that things start going wrong. They really have no idea how morale and motivation affect the standard of an operation (in addition to fatigue...). :( :( :(

What a bunch of losers. Still they'll most probably get promoted soon...

All the best guys and gals


Secret Squirrel
15th Jun 2002, 00:48
Another sit-in is programmed for this Monday and I say support your local friendly engineer. They've gone out of their way to cover up one major balls up I made not long ago.

If you have a defect on your aeroplane PUT IT IN THE BOOK then ask for an engineer; sit back, put your feet up, grab a broadsheet and enjoy at your leisure.

Let's show management there's solidarity on the shop floor.

I second the apologies to the travelling public but if they can't see that indirectly it is for their benefit, then they aren't thinking.

Lou Scannon
15th Jun 2002, 11:24
Steady chaps, it's becoming more obvious by the day that the whole BA operation is on the rocks. With the ridiculous overheads that BA have with their suits and buildings there is no way that they can make a profit. If they cut fares to compete with all the other operators they will simply run into more debt.

A complete closure of the BA operation at Gatwick is on the cards so don't play into their hands by giving them the excuse they need. We all know that the problem rests with the multi-layered management and not the engineers and operations people, but they are calling the shots ( until the receivers walk in).

rubber jonny
15th Jun 2002, 14:41

15th Jun 2002, 15:13
Given that, following the future size and shape review, there is no longer sufficient work at LGW for the existing engineering workforce and also that I have every sympathy with the engineers what would they find acceptable to resolve the situation?

I would also express similar fears Lou Scannon's.

rubber jonny your nickname befits your posting.

15th Jun 2002, 21:07
As an Engineer I have every sympathy with the Engineers at BA LGW, We Engineer's are Under Valued in the Aviation Industry, some people including pilots consider us to be nothing more than Grease Monkeys, others consider us to be an Un-Nessessery Expense, many dont realise how much training, Studying and the Expense that it has cost to become Licensed Aircraft Engineers.
All I would like is for the Pilots to stand up for us Engineers and more importantly Engineers STAND UP FOR YOUSELVES, if its broken book it and fix it,

Notso Fantastic
15th Jun 2002, 22:24
JAFcon- why do you have it in so heavily for pilots? Of all people in aviation, I think you will find pilots respect engineers more than anybody else! It's not recognition from pilots that will dig you out of this hole- it's recognition by the pen-pushers/bean counters you need now! And you will not get that by taking a swipe at pilots! Wrong target my friend!

15th Jun 2002, 22:41

Are you saying that everyone should just give in? Are you saying that BA management in Engineering have a clue what they're doing?

The work that Engineers are being forced to travel round the M25 for only lasts nine months. The 767 line cannot be moved to Gatwick - even though one was flown down from Manchester to Gatwick AFTER the CAA had been notified that Gatwick couldn't do 767 maintenance anymore.

Secret Squirrel
16th Jun 2002, 01:50

Yet another chance to have a go at BA; how boring. BA, believe it or not, are in a much stronger position than you think so let's stop all this BA bashing nonsense. Yeah sure, the low costers are doing well and good luck to them but their true colours are beginning to tell amoungst the travelling public and most of my flights are generally full with a healthy proportion of business travellers. So where do these figures come from for the low costers?; I'll tell you, in the main it's a cross section of the undisirable public, the pondlife who have been duped into thinking that it's cheaper to fly low cost only to find later that a similar trip on a BA/BM/other non UK national carrier would not only get them to their desired destination (as opposed to 1 1/2 hours drive away from where they actually want to get to) but that the flight wouldn't have to be met by the police.


The point here isn't whether there is enough work; it's whether there is the right type of work. They've shifted most longhaul and all mediumhaul aircraft up to golden runways. Fine. let's say that you are now surplus 100 engineers. Please explain to me the logic behind transferring those 100 engineers based on their home postcode, because it baffles me. We on the RJ have two aircraft without airstairs, six without APU, a further two without front toilets and one doesn't have a reliable fuel guage. And that's just the ones I have flown lately. To make matters worse, one of those aeroplanes has all four defects to itself; indeed has had for over a week. All of last week there was only one engineer at any one time available to sign the defects in the techlog.

It seems to me there are a few too many people here who know rather a lot about not much at all.

Notso Fantastic
16th Jun 2002, 09:30
<<It seems to me there are a few too many people here who know rather a lot about not much at all.>>.......unfortunately only too true. It seems to be the forum where an instant, anonymous opinion seems to be felt to be demanded from any idiot who has limited knowledge, or from other idiots who fire off 3000 opinions on every subject. Then you have the anonymous BA failures trying to get an anti BA dig in about ANY subject whatsoever. I feel we need to get this forum back to Professional Pilots only to try and interject a bit of discipline somehow. The actual proportion of Professional Pilots here is very, very small, and these voluble and uninformed opinions put off the vast majority of Professionals with internet access- it never seems to amaze me how many of our colleagues avoid pprune because of all the idiotic interjections. Just look at how many threads have been moved on Reporting Points! It's like ignoring the rules is perfectly OK. Too wild, too undisciplined.

16th Jun 2002, 10:18
My apologise to Notso Fantastic, my reply didn't come across as was intended, I should have said many people in Aviation including some Pilots, but was mainly aimed at Bean-Counters, Managment and Office Staff.
Once again Sorry to Notso Fantastic Most Pilots I hold in the highest regard, but not all !!!!!, especially those that think I'm a Grease Monkey whose there for their bidding and there to clean up after them.

16th Jun 2002, 11:05
Cheers to all those who have sent support. Please also spare a thought about all the Engineers who are out on Gardening leave at Manchester.

There is plenty of work available for the workforce of Engineers at LGW...... BA have even been turning away Aircraft checks (which subsequently went to Monarch at LTN........perhaps all the shareholders in BA should enquire WHY, if the company is in such a state, it can afford to offload important third party revenue and donate it to another company....? )

Anyone clarify / care to comment on possible abuse of the Data Protection Act , with regards to selection of the compulsory transfers based upon Home Post Codes?.

16th Jun 2002, 17:36
Secret Squirrel

You state what youy believe to be the case but the question I asked was what would be an acceptable solution? The company plans at the moment placve less emphasis on LGW as a base for what could be called mainline flying. I presume this means there is a surplus of engineers at LGW. The guys at LGW are striking in protest but presumably have a set of demands to end their action?

Bear in mind I am not trying to stir trouble and actually have sympathy with the poor way in which engineering has/is being treated within BA.

Secret Squirrel
17th Jun 2002, 00:16

I think that Flying Lawyer or some such learned colleague might be your best bet for an informed answer to that one.


I can't answer that question. The problem is, neither can management without some sort of consultation with the engineers themselves. The issue here is - and it's endemic - that a series of management decisions have been made by -nobody's sure who - about many things and no-one has bothered to think most of these things through; nobody has stopped to think about the Human Factors.

Don't get me wrong, I know it may seem debatable but I'm not a total halfwit: I know management have had some tough decisions to make and that consultation on every decision would be counterproductive and slow. It's not for frontline staff to make corporate decisions (I don't think it should even be the domain of the unions in most cases) I do, nonetheless feel that, once you've made a decision, it would go a lot smoother if you came to some sort of agreement with the affected parties on the best way to go about making changes.

You won't please all the people all of the time, granted, but you ain't gonna please anyone if you issue dictates; and any halfwit can see that when you are dealing with 20,000 or so frontline staff you have to keep them as sweet as you can.

17th Jun 2002, 00:34

The problem is not so much that there is a surplus of engineers at LGW. It is more to do with the fact that there is a massive shortage at LHR. BA have not recruited engineers or trained apprentices for many years. There are several hundred engineers over the age of 60 that are soon to retire.

Yes there is less work at LGW now but many of the staff could be redeployed rather than forced to LHR. Take a look at Secret Squirrel’s post about all the RJ defects. For example it is not unusual to find a single avionic licensed engineer in short haul on a Saturday night looking after some 30 aircraft. Do you think this is an acceptable amount of engineering cover? Are you happy that the new workforce at LHR will be getting up at around 04:30 seven days in a row, travelling 100 miles a day on the M25 and then maintaining your aircraft?

Some engineers who are being transferred have decided this is not acceptable (funnily enough) and have left the industry altogether. Others are likely to follow further depleting the engineering license cover in BA.

There is an alternative. There are empty hangars at LGW. The unions have suggested that some of the maintenance checks be carried out there. LGW staff have volunteered for this work even though it would not normally be their first choice. BA engineering management have stated that this is a feasible option but they will not take it because their long-term objective is to transfer staff to LHR. I would argue that this is only short term fire fighting and sooner or later they must address the recuitment issue. There is an industry wide shortage of licensed engineers and it is only going to get worse. All BA are doing at the moment is driving the best people out of the airline in an attempt to make up for there lack of training and recruitment in recent years. The BA maintenance work could be kept at LGW, some engineers could be redeployed to help Secret Squirrel get his aircraft fixed, there are also plenty of third party contracts available, finally BA would have an engineering workforce at LGW ready for when the pendulum inevitably swings back and LGW is back in favour again. (Can you imagine the problems they will have trying to force people back the other way!)

LGW engineers are not generally militants, they have suffered numerous hardships at the hands of their managers in recent years, they do not want to hurt the airline. On the contrary all they want is the chance to show that LGW engineering still has a vital contribution to make to the airline.

One final thought. It is rumoured (I STRESS RUMOUR) that BA engineering management are preparing to unpacify engineering approvals for engineering management staff ahead of any further action by engineering. Their approvals were pacified in accordance with JAA regulations due to the fact that they do not have recent experience on type. Bearing in mind that these people have performance bonuses based on on-time departures and minimum ADD levels (think about it!) are you happy that this is the standard of engineering you may be offered.

Jet II
17th Jun 2002, 05:58

[QUOTE]BA engineering management are preparing to unpacify engineering approvals for engineering management staff ahead of any further action by engineering. Their approvals were pacified in accordance with JAA regulations due to the fact that they do not have recent experience on type[/QUOTE

This is an old BA tactic to break any industrial action, it also appears that the flight crews will be told from Monday not to put any defects in the book. Remember it was an Engineering manager who fitted the flight deck window that blew out on the 1-11!

I have just sat through 2 days of training on Human Factors, which apparently the CAA is getting very interested in due to the rise in maintenance related accidents, but as soon as I return to the office, the company start implementing strategy's that are designed to make the situation worse.

It never ceases to amaze me (I am pretty naive) that the CAA do not take any action over the undermanning issues, false numbers of staff on duty, etc. etc.

17th Jun 2002, 10:30
Thank you for the replies which now paint a clearer picture of what is happening.

Jet II. I am LHR based flight crew and have not heard of such an instruction. From my experience of the integrity of my colleagues few of us would not put a defect in the technical log. I had enough of that with previous companies. It was a refreshing change to find that even if a defect would temporarily ground an aircraft there has never been and, I hope, never will be pressure not to enter that defect.

18th Jun 2002, 20:08
Latest situation..... seems to be that any BA Engineer at LGW (who has had the misfortune of being forcibily re-located to LHR) if he turns up Gatwick, he gets sent home on "Gardening Leave" on full pay and conditions.

A similar situation exists at Manchester where some four months after closing down the relatively new hangar. there are about 40 Engineers who are tending their Roses !

Meanwhile, because of the lack of Engineers many BA and third party A/C are not getting their overnight checks carried out., which obviously impacts on the following days flying programme, with delays and cancellations.

The BA Engineering (Mis)management has got an awful lot to answer for ..................:mad: :mad: :mad:

18th Jun 2002, 21:12
Good evening gentlemen. As a serving Licenced Engineer at LGW I am very grateful for the discussions you are holding and the sympathy you have for us. To answer the question of what we hope to get out of our action I,ll tell you. The reduction in routes out of LGW has impacted on all ground staff, loaders, tug drivers as well as engineers. However the mismanagement have offered both loaders and the tuggies a variety of options such as redeployment, severence or early retirement where appropriate. Engineers have been offered a posting to LHR on 4 on 4 off pattern if they volunteer, or a 7 on 3 off, 7 on 4, off earlies and lates pattern if they dont. So naturally we would like parity with our more militant colleagues.
Secondly one of our union reps worked out the cost of working the 767 line at LGW and presented his findings to the mismanagement. He was told that his figures were incorrect and to prove it mismanagement gave him their figures. Gentlemen the difference was £9.00 a day over life of the line. We have the space and the skills to do this work and a proven track record in majors.
Because we don't down tools at the drop of a hat, because all we really want to do is come in and fix aeroplanes we are getting, what we see as disproportionate treatment. Sitting on our toolboxes goes against the grain.
We would have more RJ100 and ATR cover if mismanagement hadn't cancelled courses and stopped paying agreed allowences.
Thank you for your support, please stick with us.
Long live the GFF:) :) :) :) :)

19th Jun 2002, 09:07
Secret Squirrel

As someone 'in the business' but who does not work for an airline:

No question about it, give me a well maintained a/c, looked after by a properly rested and motivated engineer any time please. Hope the engineers can get things sorted out soon.

BA staff cannot expect support or understanding from their customers with an attitude like yours.
If you are getting upset at anti-BA sentiments then don't call us pondlife if we use another carrier !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Why should the public, sorry, great unwashed to you, have any sympathy at all with BA staff (the public usually fails to differentiate between pilots, engineers or whatever), if that is how you think of us? Actually been on several low cost flights recently and they're not bad. STN is a dream compared to LHR and e.g. the Ryanair coach available in Venice was cheap and convenient.

If that is how 'non-management' in BA views its customers, is it any wonder that there is little public support for the staff, even when there is a genuine problem, such as LGW engineering.

No good blaming BA management alone for all the airlines woes with an attitude like that mate.

"Yet another chance to have a go at BA; how boring. BA, believe it or not, are in a much stronger position than you think so let's stop all this BA bashing nonsense. Yeah sure, the low costers are doing well and good luck to them but their true colours are beginning to tell amoungst the travelling public and most of my flights are generally full with a healthy proportion of business travellers. So where do these figures come from for the low costers?; I'll tell you, in the main it's a cross section of the undisirable public, the pondlife who have been duped into thinking that it's cheaper to fly low cost only to find later that a similar trip on a BA/BM/other non UK national carrier would not only get them to their desired destination (as opposed to 1 1/2 hours drive away from where they actually want to get to) but that the flight wouldn't have to be met by the police."

warp factor
19th Jun 2002, 09:17
Unfortunately B.A. has been p*sing off Engineers faster than they
can hire them for years,the worm turns!
Best of luck to all LGW a noble effort.;)

19th Jun 2002, 11:00

Chill out a bit, maybe SS's opinions could have been worded a bit different. But don't be offended by what is said in these forums even the title of the passengers forum on this site is Passengers and SLF (they are one and the same), just the same as I, as a BA employee won't be offended by your generalisation that all BA staff think their customers are an annoyance to be tollerated because thats not true either. I've worked for lots of public facing industries and believe me the great unwashed is a term of endearment.

Secret Squirrel
19th Jun 2002, 16:07

As mainfrog says, maybe I could have worded it a little different. I didn't mean to suggest that ALL the LCA's travelling public are pondlife. As for the tenuous connection between that and that I think BA's customers are pondlife, well you'll have to explain that one to me, I'm sorry.

In anticipation of your - I'm sure - very detailed explanation of how you came to the conclusion that 2 + 2 = 5, I take every care to ensure that customers recieve the best service I am able to offer. All I ask is that they be polite and if they have a genuine grievance, I will go out of my way to make it as painless as possible - if it is within my power!

If they are stroppy and offensive to me or my crew then they will initially get the benefit of the doubt as we have to draw on our own experiences. If after a few moments they can't see the futility of aggression then they get nothing from me. It's as simple as that. I have to cope with enough stress during a working day without pandering to 'pondlife'.

I think you'll agree that most of us (with the exception of the eternally patient - which I am not: I do not suffer fools gladly and in turn I try not to be one either) act in a similar manner. These, and other reasons are why I choose a) not to work the other side of the cockpit door, and b) to work for a scheduled airline. In all fairness, however, the latter is more luck than judgement but I am grateful nonetheless.

Back to engineers:

It ould be nice if just once, mismanagement realised the worth of morale, wouldn't it?

19th Jun 2002, 21:53
The main problem that this and many other situations relating to engineers terms and conditions highlights is the lack of a proper body to represent us. If we had a body such as BALPA (should have been taken when it was offerd years ago) then we would have a much better chance of having our experience and qualifications rewarded with appropriate terms and conditions.

I think the first thing to go would be the ridiculous 7 and 3, 7 and 4 shift pattern, it is a joke and a recipe for disaster regardless of how far you have to commute. 4 on 4 off is not perfect but it is workable.
The prospect of both pilots and engineers being represented by the one body would cause seizures within the management community. Only a thought.


20th Jun 2002, 09:05
mainfrog / secret squirrel

Ok, maybe my post could have been worded better too. Didn't mean to imply that ALL BA staff thought that way, nor that they thought BA customers were pondlife. And no, terms like SLF don't bother me at all.

At the risk of going further off-thread, it's just that I keep encountering what I deem/perceive to be an arrogant attitude on the part of certain BA staff and from BA on a corporate level too. Annoys me because so many - but definitely not all - BA staff do give great service (on the ground and on both sides of the cabin door). Particularly frustrating given the state of the market and the need for what is supposed to be our premier flag carrier to regain its place on the world stage. Pride in one's company is great but ...

Anyway, shall we let the engineers have their forum back

20th Jun 2002, 19:25
The local press have run a story on the sit it.


20th Jun 2002, 20:28

As civil aviation is becomes more and more controlled by accountants ( lap dogs of major shareholders) it is obvious to those of us at the coal face of the industry that saftey will be compromised at some stage.

I feel that it is high time the unions/associations representing ATC, Engineers, & Flight Crew worked towards forming an 'Aviation Union/Association' which had the industry at heart and strived to get Safety to the top of the agenda.

Personally I would like to see anyone employed at the cutting edge of UK Aviation- WELL PAID-WELL RESTED- MOTIVATED & EQUIPPED WITH STATE OF THE ART TECHNOLOGY befitting one of the richest countries in the World.

Additionally a major benefit of having a single organisation would be to sideline the issue of secondary industrial action as we would all be part of the same team and able to fight several corners!

21st Jun 2002, 01:05
I agree with some of these guys sentiments , but really - as part of the long/short term strategy of the airline depends on survival, some of these changes are inevitable.

ALOT of work has been transferred to LHR, and alot more to come yet, naturally the staff have to go with it.
If LGW has lost half it's flight's, there is no point in the same amount of staff still working there.
Many Engineers/pilots/crew have NO option but to go with it.
I know, I left Eurogatwick 6 years ago,for many of these reasons but i haven't looked back since.

It is making economic sense to have the majority of BA's flights from LHR fitting in with the wide range of connections.Also duplicating flights at airports only 35 miles apart does not make good financial reasoning.

BA expects alot from it's staff , but sometimes the staff expect a heck of alot back.(i.e.You can't have hundreds of staff sitting around at LGW doing nothing!,Much as some will think it's their god-given right .)

I strongly believe in 2 things - the company's survival & good terms/conditions for all.

It is obvious there are too many suits within the company:mad:,and this must be addressed in the immediate future.

Your priority now is to get a better fixed/flexible roster pattern to eliminate fatigue and tiredness,also to ensure there is reasonable coverage at base - but also to ensure the survival of the company.

I'm sorry if some of what I say seems harsh,but these are VERY tough times in the airline industry - we have to be realistic and build on our future prospects - we are in aviation for the love of it, - but also to be profitable / progressive.

21st Jun 2002, 07:40

[BA expects alot from it's staff , but sometimes the staff expect a heck of alot back.(i.e.You can't have hundreds of staff sitting around at LGW doing nothing!,Much as some will think it's their god-given right .)]

I think you should credit engineers with a bit more intelligence. Nobody expects a free ride. All except that some changes are inevitable. What they want is for engineering management to compulsory move people only as (truly) a last resort and then with suitable compensation for those affected.

Not to be threatened, intimidated and bullied in a manner than I am sure BALPA members would not have to endure. All this with complete disregard to human factors. If an engineer makes a mistake on his 7th day of an 04:30 start and an 40 mile drive to work do you think the company will back him up?

21st Jun 2002, 09:24

In reply to your comments.......

BA Engineers at LGW are fully aware that as the Flights out of Gatwick reduce, then there will be a reduction of maintenance workload.

What we find incomprehensible is the fact that the company is not offering severance.......... There would be many that take up a half decent offer to leave BA's employment, indeed the industry as as a whole (because there are plenty of less stressful, better paid and better working condition jobs available)......although people are reluctant to change, especially as an Licensed Engineer has put in many years of study and hard work to achieve his (or hers) "Status".

BA's problem is that they do not pay their Engineers nowhere near enough.

There are many jobs available at LHR which are going unfilled .........WHY ? See previous statment.

BA cannot attract sufficient staff willing or able to live within a reasonable distance of LHR.

Easy answer for BA (mis)management..........FORCIBLY move staff from Gatwick to cover the shortfall.......( expect them to travel 600 plus miles a week and force them onto archaic, soul destroying shift patterns) meanwhile many,many flights at Gatwick are delayed or cancelled due to no Engineering cover (ATRs RJs particularly)

:confused: :confused: :confused:

21st Jun 2002, 14:19
Anti-ice, it’s very easy to say “work at LHR, engineers at LGW, move engineers from LGW to LHR. Problem solved”.

Moving engineers from LGW to LHR would result in them travelling anything from 40 to 90 miles a DAY, on Europe’s busiest motorway just to get to work. Put that together with an archaic shift pattern (7/3/7/4 earlies/lates) over a period of time you’re going to get a lot of fatigued and stressed engineers carrying out maintenance on aeroplanes YOU and YOUR passengers may end up flying on. If anything goes wrong you won’t care because you won’t be around and the tired engineer will be in the dock with no support from the company. Can you see BA saying ‘Yes Your Honour, all our fault, we made him drive 80 miles a day for a year’? Didn’t think so.

The allowances on offer are only available for two years and would result in just about everyone being out of pocket. I’m not talking a few pounds here. I’m not entitled to relocation so if I don’t want to drive I can rent accommodation in the Heathrow area and this will cost me over £3000 for the first two years and then over £5000 for the rest of my working life.

Engineers can’t be compared to flight/cabin crew. We work different shift patterns. Some crew are bussed from LGW to LHR the night before a flight. Stay in a hotel. Start work the next day and are away for up to 7 days. They come back. Stay in a hotel. Then get bussed back to LGW. It’s not quite the same as driving up and down the M25 seven days in a row.

If BA wants to move all their flights from LGW to LHR then fine. But they can’t expect all their engineers to pack up their toolboxes and move just like that.

There comes a time when people have to decided whether their family/health/life comes before their job. Especially if the job isn’t that great (anymore).

21st Jun 2002, 15:28
It all again comes back to representation, at the risk of repeating myself, It all comes back to...... oops.

There may be valid reasons and a genuine need to relocate staff during times of restructuring, but there are also ways of doing it and still retaining the will of the people involved ie change shift patterns to a 4 0n 4 off pattern if 24 hour cover is needed if not go to 3 earlies, 3 lates and 3 off. All have thier merits and drawbacks, but if you have no-one that management take seriously to represent you then you are fighting a losing battle.
Flt Crew would not accept the shift patterns etc that we engineers work and we do not have periods of "discretion", the only reason shift patterns such as 7/3 and 7/4 exist is to have the maximum cover for the least amount of bodies regardless of the fatigue effects of this particular pattern - the bottom line is no representation, no say.

The idea is a good one for a combined representative body but how it could be formed is beyond me. I suppose a start could come from BALPA looking at the merits and perhaps coming up with an idea as they are really the main, if not only truely recognised body.

Anyway said my bit, feel better now good luck at Gatwick.


23rd Jun 2002, 11:28
This has not just happened. For the last couple of years we have been losing Engineers to LHR.

Last year people who were to be posted were called in to see Management. The conversation went roughly thus:

Manager:" You are on the list to be posted to LHR. There are positions available in areas A,B & C. If you volunteer we can get you into your preferred area. Where would you like to volunteer to work?"

Engineer:" I would prefer to work in area A"

Manager:" So you are volunteering to transfer to area A?"

Then the management can state that they are not forcing people to move but have lots of happy chappies and everything id hunky dory!

This year the incentive to volunteer is to go on a 4/4 shift - but as the line is due to last only 9 months and they can swap your shift at 7 days notice it's not worth diddley squat.

The main problem is that they are running out of people who want to move. We are in the situation where people being moved are going to have to drive past Gatwick every day to get to LHR. If you saw the story in BA news recently you will see that the people displaced by the closure of BAVS at LGW were offered options. We are back in the situation that the short haul crews found themselves in after the takeover of Dan Air in the Dan Brewin days. In other words a return of the FIFO mentality.

Some Engineers want to leave but it is not the story that they have found another job they want to go to but may have to look for something which will pay less just to get a job. That is why we are asking for the Severence packages which are not on offer to Engineers. Engineering management state that the problem isn't an overall shortage of skilled Engineers due to not training anybody over the last 6 years. They tell you that we have 20 on the PEP programme (the modern day apprenticeship) and hundreds of other young people on training! The PEPs exist (20 where will that get us?) but the others? Who knows who they are. where they are or even what they are training for.

The problem isn't the way that Engineering are being treated. the problem is hoe Engineering are treating their Engineers, a very sublte but very important distinction to make.

23rd Jun 2002, 14:59

“The problem isn't the way that Engineering are being treated. the problem is hoe Engineering are treating their Engineers, a very sublte but very important distinction to make”

Very well said. I am sure you will agree the problem can be traced right to the very top of engineering. Many junior/middle managers will tell you in private that they do not necessarily agree with some of the policies of recent years but they will not disagree with them because it is their job to agree with them. What this actually means is that they fear for their own positions. Most of their positions are short-term and their future position depends upon their current (perceived) performance.

Regarding PEPs. Although the company would like to consider them “modern day apprenticeships” this is far from the case. There is much less ‘hands on’ practical work and much more emphasis on academic qualifications. Having spoken to some of them I can tell you that very few desire to become ‘hands on’ engineers. Some simply wish to get their Licences/Degree and pursue more fruitful employment elsewhere and others have management aspirations within BA.

Bob Brown
24th Jun 2002, 12:32
Back in 1988 BA had a similar problem when they Merged (Took Over) British Caledonian. They announced to all the B-Cal engineers that their contracts were invalid and they must sign new ones or walk.
Many people signed new contracts and were awarded a golden payment that went some way to compensating them for the loss of a large chunk of their salary that they would suffer on a BA contract.
4th year B-Cal apprentices like myself were told similar stories. Sign and beome a fitter (£20pw more than a B-Cal apprentice rate) or become a BA 3rd yr apprentice on £100pw less.
Following the take over many staff were moved between LGW and LHR without their thoughts and hapiness being taken into account. This was why BA became known as Bad Attitude.
For the following two years (until I could take no more) it was impossible for anyone that was ex B-Cal to get any training or recognition for what they had done.
On the good side, the staff that did not sign new contracts and were told to walk later took BA to court. Having spent 18 months or so contracting around the world, BA were ordered to take them back in their original posts at their original salary with back pay.
Bad Attitude seems to have some back!

24th Jun 2002, 23:27
Bob. Just who were these people who got their original positions back? Its news to us!

Bob Brown
25th Jun 2002, 08:18
Bearing in mind it was 12-13 years ago and I left there 12 years ago, I cant remember any names but there were a number of fitters, CLT's and Supervisors from the hangars and one or two from the ramp.

The Original Geeza
26th Jun 2002, 17:55
A quick message to all you captains and f/o's at BA, dont forget if theres a defect put it in the book , dont leave it till the end of the day.

support the Gatwick Freedom Fighters .

Freddy Wetpants
5th Jul 2002, 16:45
500+ engineers at Gatwick, 50+ engineers at MAN & 50+ engineers at BHX seek caring professional union. n/s prefered. Would gladly fund new department in existing union as long as it isn't headed up by Rimhat. Although numbers appear small, many are willing to move with the masses. Please report any finding below.