View Full Version : BALPA Rep joins BA management

17th Aug 2003, 18:51
The chairman of the BA section of BALPA has just resigned and announced he is to become a senior manager with BA! Turns out that he was in discussions with BA about his new job whilst still negotiating for BALPA (GSS deal for BA commands). However you dress it up that is a conflict of interests and deeply worrying for the union.

17th Aug 2003, 19:03
Not much chance of that in our union.


17th Aug 2003, 21:01
Not exactly a new occurence.

The same happened in jmc last year (albeit a council member, not chairman). And I believe it has happened several times in Britannia in the last 40 years.

Slightly worrying maybe, but not surprising.:confused:

17th Aug 2003, 21:08
Speaking as a Nigel I see this as purely innocent. They offered him a large pay-rise, an opportunity to improve the mechanisms of the LHR operation from the top level and strangely he took it. The conspiracies that abound are an affront to his obvious abilities. Good luck to him. Perhaps now the directors will have someone erudite enough to pass on a pilots perspective at BAA's busiest airport.

I hope the individual concerned remembers us on the way up.

Anthony Carn
17th Aug 2003, 21:10
Jeez ! Where you been youwererobbed ? Our management is just littered with ex-BALPA reps ! Or do I mean our management is just littered ? :confused: Anyway........

Plan of action -- Become a BALPA rep, demonstrate how company minded you can be, and then get into management. Simple ! The rest of the membership is apathetic and weak-willed enough to let it continue. I wonder if HQ is even bothered.

BALPA reps should sign a management waver.

And as I've always said, the CC system is useless. The above is only one of the reasons.

17th Aug 2003, 21:13
Speaking as a Nigel I see this as purely innocent. They offered him a large pay-rise, an opportunity to improve the mechanisms of the LHR operation from the top level and strangely he took it. The conspiracies that abound are an affront to his obvious abilities. Good luck to him. Perhaps now the directors will have someone erudite enough to pass on a pilots perspective at BAA's busiest airport.

Did you know that the word gullible is no longer in the English dictionary?

Anthony Carn
17th Aug 2003, 21:20
Did you know that the word gullible is no longer in the English dictionary?
Been replaced with "Nigel" I guess.

They live on another planet.

18th Aug 2003, 00:37

I think perhaps we should put your initial comments down to the naivety of youth.

As to your last comment, and speaking from experience, not a snowball's chance in hell!!


Mini mums
18th Aug 2003, 00:49
Anthony Carn, I really find your last post quite offensive. I am a "Nigel", and although there is a minority who have led sheltered and blessed flying careers, the vast majority of my colleagues are down to earth, and hard working.

I'm disappointed by what has gone on at BA, but to look on the positive side it is better that the views of the pilot workforce are represented within management by someone who is obviously articulate and capable.

We don't live on another planet, but use this forum to communicate with some others whom we wish did. As the other posts have shown, this problem is not unique to BA - so why turn it into an opportunity to Nigel bash?

I thought we were professionals?

18th Aug 2003, 00:54
Absolutely nothing new in this - seen it several times before with other companies. In fact, it seems to be par for the course!

One guy I knew (still know!) was the rep on the Staff Association (we didn't have a union) and ended up as the Ops Director when the company was taken over and several of the Board jumped ship to start another company (no names, no packdrill!!).

As they say, be nice to the people on the way up because you never know when you might meet them on the way down.

I don't think that this type of progression means too much in terms of ability but you do get to meet the management on a regular basis and hence it is not too surprising that if the individuals are perceived to be the right material they are offered a management position.

Finally, remember the "Peter Principle" that people rise to their levels of incompetence. This certainly seems to be true with some airline managements that come to mind. Poacher turned Gamekeeper?

18th Aug 2003, 01:08
Mini mums,

I think it can be said that the vast majority of your professional pilots are honest hardworking chaps/chapesses and have their hearts in the right place.

However there still exists a hard core in BA who think they are God's gift to aviation and women. You also get the ambitious b******s who choose to be a union official and use this as a stepping stone into management.

I speak now from personal experience, and I don't mean as one of those b******s, and have seen the pilot work force sold down the river so that a certain "gentleman" could further his management career.

For the terminally curious he retired some years ago, never to be seen again.



stormin norman
18th Aug 2003, 02:23
He was offered the job over dinner with RE and accepted
within 3 days..............See you on the way down.

18th Aug 2003, 16:06
Anthony Carn

I am a so-called 'Nigel' as well. I object to your comment. I live in the real world and BA is not the only company I've worked for.

I look forward to buying you a pint at the Gatbash and perhaps we can soothe your obvious resentment of BA pilots.

On the subject topic, I feel totally let-down by this appointment. I left BALPA some while ago and was contemplating rejoining, but will now not. This compounds my suspicions that some BALPA reps seem to love the intoxicating whiffs of power they experience during meetings with management. They are seduced.

I imagine the conversation:

"...well you certainly know a fair bit about cricket mate. Now a man with negotiating skills like yourself, you're wasting your time in BALPA, I've got a job for you..."

18th Aug 2003, 17:44
Having worked for BA for 18 years and UK independent airlines before that I am still waiting to meet these supposedly well known "Gods gifts" and other assorted arrogant so and so's.

The truth is that the cross section of pilot's in BA is exactly the same as in other airlines. Until you have actually worked for BA, the sort of comments that regularly appear here can seem like sour grapes......

19th Aug 2003, 17:13
No smoke without fire!


19th Aug 2003, 20:46
Thank you all who describe me as naive. May I return the compliment by describing you as conspiratorial.

Is the supposed defector meant to have spent the last 3 years on a bribe so that eventually he may jump ship when the troops have discovered his treachory? Really?

PPrune's failings have been summed up quite succinctly in the previous 14 postings. Open with a rumour/fact. In fly the theories. Round it off with 'Nigel baiting' from an intellectually inferior interloper (who 5 years ago couldn't get his head round how to build a lego tower as part of a group of 5 competitive males at Meadowbank). There you have it. Lovely.

Some of you sound like David Ike.:rolleyes:

19th Aug 2003, 20:55
Only a lego tower.

My son managed a whole castle on his own when he was eight years old.

Conspirotrial, no, just realistic.


19th Aug 2003, 21:31
Land ASAP which part of the original post was rumour? It was all fact or I wouldn't have put it here. The main point is, however much you like or respect RH, he must have had a conflict of interests whilst negotiating on one hand with BA with regard to his management job (remember first contact with Uncle Rod was 1st Aug) and his BALPA negotiations.

There should be a period of time between someone leaving BALPA and taking up a position with "the other side". Common decency would lead most to take that view. Do you not find it worrying that our chief negotiator has changed sides? I think it IS naive to believe that RH won't be suppling BA with info regarding our 2003/4 pay deal. It will be interesting to see how good a deal it turns out and who now takes over the Chairmanship of the BACC.....maybe another self promoter with BA management as his final goal.

RH's motivation can't be the well being of the FC community or he'd still be in BALPA. I'm always suspicious of anybody who gives up flying to work behind a desk........!

19th Aug 2003, 22:35

what happened did we fail the selection or did we stay in the RAF until we were too old?


19th Aug 2003, 23:52


I held a CPL/IR at the age of twenty and was flashing round in a Vickers Viscount, probably before you were a twinkle in your mummy's eye. In fact I flew the Viscounts at Cosford and Duxford before I could drive a motor car.

Incidentally, I was the youngest on the crew as the cabin crew had to over twenty-one and single in those days.

Never fancied the RAF as the pay was cr*p, the hours too long and the hosties downright ugly.



PS I don't have a rich Mummy and Daddy but got sponsored by Cambrian Airways plus a top-up from some damages from a car accident when I was on my push-bike.

PPS I also worked as a road-man when the money got short.

20th Aug 2003, 01:48
Never fancied the RAF as the pay was cr*p, the hours too long and the hosties downright ugly.

oh well at least we agree on something
Also you forgot that they employ people like Flashhart.


20th Aug 2003, 16:13
RH has NOT gone into Flight Ops Management but to GROUND Ops management, in particular, the Operational Performance Improvement Programme.

If in later years he were to become the Director of Flight Operations, I for one would be more than happy to see him in that position as a member of Balpa unlike the present incumbant who is not, and never has been, a member of the BA Balpa pilot community - says reams doesn't it?

The integrity of RH is not in any question by those who know him well.

Rob, you did a great job for us on the CC - now do a great job for us in getting our airline back on track.

20th Aug 2003, 16:50
The new GSS agreement allowing expansion beyond 2aircraft and breaking BA Pilots new SCOPE agreement was signed on the same day (according to RH himself), that BA first approached him about the management job. According to that timing, the whole process from job becoming vacant, offer and accepted was 3days. It takes longer to hire a cleaner in BA.

Does anyone here not think he has been offered other jobs previously that we aren't aware of ? When did those offers occur ?

I am not saying RH has been bought off, etc but I believe he is being economical with the truth. The only problem in all this, is that it can be difficult to maintain a staunch BALPA stance during negotiations when you are being frequently courted by the other side and know you might not be even flying a week later and at some future date point definitely want to join management. With the option to stay on and move up the Main Seniority list in case things don't work out of course.

I think BALPA Rules should have a minimum 1-yr cooling off period between being a Rep in one of our major positions and taking a BA management job to avoid this sort of thing.
1. We don't want stone steppers in BALPA but people who have to live and work in the T&C's they negotiate for others.
2. Do we want BALPA's most current strategies now open to BA management ?

BA BALPA has a long history of such movements and of being accused of being "too Close" to management. This latest episode does little to help placate those accusations.

20th Aug 2003, 16:50
Snouts in the trough mate.Just come back from a stateside trip that had been disrupted with the power problem. The cabin crew spent the night at the airport and were claiming for an extended duty day of 26hours at somr horrendous cost to the company.The pilots didnt get a brass razoo.Thanks RH

20th Aug 2003, 19:40
What's a brass razoo?

I'm with you on one thing. The loss of DOP's and 'lateness credit' was under-estimated by the BACC. I believe the figure of 800k per annum was quoted by BA to RH's pay team and they were foolish to believe them.
<<<<<<<Scribbles on back of fag packet
800k / 3400 pilots = 235 per pilot per year

I used to on average, as a SH pilot, earn around 50 per month from this quirky peripheral allowance. If I am supposed to be the average Nigel I make 3400 x 50 x 12 = 2 million. And THAT doesn't include the DOC's that helped the Long Haul net pay packets.

There's no juice to RH's defection. He was a climber. He got what he climbed for and for an unfortunate few, they suffered the consequences of his negotiations. On the whole, his agreements were sound and lack any fuel to the fire of conspiracy. Good Luck to him and let's get LHR sorted in time for T5.

20th Aug 2003, 20:36
Well it's been a long long time since I've been moved to post in PPRUNE but as a guy who had a series of e-mail disagreements with RH prior and post pay deal and CFE integration I find myself broadly defending him. I don't think it's the move itself that's the problem it's the perception that the timing gives it. It doesn't seem decent somehow. I think, perhaps, that some kind of clause should be in place that bars BALPA guys from taking up management posts within a, say, 12 month period.

RH is an ambitious man, and I'm bound to say it's consistent behaviour for someone to take on the mantle of the chair of the BACC and then want to further their career (guess the guy likes pain?).

My only concern, as has been voiced here is how long it will take BA to move him from his Ground Ops post to Industrial Relations for the next pay battle.

Still, given the paucity of my relations with the man himself, I can look at rejoining BALPA. Maybe.

But to concur with the first post. It simply doesn't look good whether or not there's any hidden agenda to the move.


Super Stall
21st Aug 2003, 00:47
Given that RH would have accepted the job at some stage, exactly when would have been a good time for him to leave?

Maybe if he left it until we were stuck into this years pay round? or maybe until after the pay negotiations were completed (God forbid !!). Then we would be talking NAPS etc. etc.

At the end of the day we are always formulating plans or we are entering/in the midst of negotiations. There will never be a good time to lose such an important figure.

21st Aug 2003, 08:57
The CEO of Aer Lingus is an ex Cadet Pilot and ex Union Executive member.

He was almost fired in 1982 because the company was in financial difficulties and had too many pilots...he was bottom of the list.

Fortunately for him the union fought hard to protect his job and he was 'redeployed' to an office job for 12 months.

When he returned to flying he joined the union executive (people might have thought it was in gratitude for having his skin saved by his colleagues).

No chance. He ingratiated himself with management and was soon elevated into their circle (with the assistance of at least one other ex union poacher turned gamekeeper).

Thanks to his particular knowledge of the workings of the pilots union and its policiy documents (he was allegedly caught photocopying the lot on the eve of his departure) he made a name for himself in management by shafting the pilot group at every given opportunity (sound familiar yet?).

His rise was inexorable thanks to his 'insider knowledge' and his willing and treasonable betrayal of his own colleagues.

Having put himself on a senior fleet (out of seniority) he then gave up flying altogether (can't be taken seriously as a manager if you're one of those bloody pilots). He was later quoted in a major Irish newspaper interview as saying 'I always considered flying as boring, I prefer management'.

When Aer Lingus had their brush with bankruptcy after 9-11 he was by then 'in charge'. One of his first actions was to attempt to sack the most junior 85 pilots because 'the company was in financial difficulties and had too many pilots'....thus the circle was finally closed and the betrayal was complete.

I often wonder if the irony ever struck him...that if the self same union which fought to save the jobs of the 85 had not fought for him too...he would have had time to contemplate how 'boring' flying is in some other career.

Probably not.