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Old 20th Mar 2012, 18:43   #1 (permalink)

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Dubai – we want you to do more for less – it is what it is

We are now in the 3rd month of the year - March 2012, & yet no announcements of a pay rise…. If any, of course……. We have not forgotten the events of 2011, where SERCO initially told us that there’s no money in the coffers….. ohhh yeah then to backtrack & follow DA’s announcement of a pay rise. What has 2012 brought us? So far a big zero – no positives at all, just the famous roadshows organized for us on our off days!
Does management think we all are, ‘a happy motivated bunch’??? With the yearly announcements by DA, breaking record after record, traffic increasing by a minimum of 7%, we definitely deserve more. We have not received a decent pay rise for nearly 4 years now, one must not forget that in 2010 we got nothing, & in 2011 we got 4% (on BASIC Salary of course), so considering the previous year – 2010 where we got nothing, one could argue that the 2011 increase was a mere 2%. The inflation has shot up by a minimum of 7% (yearly), and as we are experiencing, Dubai has got much more expensive to live in, fuel shot up by approx. 30%, not to mention that some grocery shopping also shot up by 30-50%.
SERCO no longer cover all the mandatory costs, no longer pay for eGate Card, no longer fully reimburse residence visa renewals. Some of us had all schooling allowances fully covered, however this is no longer the case. Same as when one resigns, SERCO no longer cover full emigration costs when shipping all personal stuff back home. Also when someone decides to leave SERCO accommodation – PSV, one has to redecorate all the house at own expense and not at one’s choice of contractor performing the works.
Leave issues - this summer does not look good at all, and with the recent ‘Leave Ban’ communication, and with a minimum complement of 8+1, most of us will be ending with just 1.5 cycle in the Summer period. We are also being rostered to attend training on our off days, if it’s the case of maximum 2 days, it’s not so bad (considering the famous claw back days), but now it has got to the point that more of our off days are being messed around with!
DWC Move – a real master class move – unlike a much preferred Swiss precision tick tock move. It’s hard to find some optimism about the move, actually it is really depressing. Location is in the middle of nowhere, Radar Room – no windows, few restrooms, no canteen or food courts, poor staff car park, and the poor bus service – it is so poor that one wonders if this service really exists!
Then we have the new kid on the block – Dr.Jekyll & Mr.R (a.k.a Chunder-B), who’s intro. to us was full of ‘bs’ of Q&A (simply copy/pasted from previous Co.) together with a few ‘yellow cards’ along the way to some of our colleagues. He seems to excel at portraying 2 different characters at work and off duty!
We are all aware that SERCO staff has passed the 300 mark, of which 70% are HR…… & who exactly are HR? Basically the cost of everything and the value of nothing – in other words the ‘Cancer of the Company’!!!
What about the recently introduced new ‘FREE ZONE Contract’ that we now have to sign? It is certainly not identical to the original SERCO contract we signed when we joined the company. It is advisable that legal advice is sought, even though we are verbally told both contracts are identical.
Last year alone – 2011, we had around half a dozen resignations, I’m sure that this year – 2012 we will at least reach the same number of resignations as last year. Management seem oblivious to this, and although the number of resignations are not yet ‘high enough’, does not mean that people are happy here. As soon as there are openings, get ready for more resignations.
If management has noticed, we are struggling to attract ATCOs with decent CV’s from busy ATC Units, you wonder why? Let alone how many ATCOs we have seen struggle to validate or not validate at all!
Good work SERCO for appreciating our hard work. For sure you have achieved an all time record of low morale and zero motivation. It has really become hard to find some job satisfaction, management are simply doing their best to annoy us ATCOs as best as they are capable of!
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Old 20th Mar 2012, 21:01   #2 (permalink)
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So I presume you have tendered your resignation and are now in the market for a new job. Good luck, I truly hope you find something. Nothing worse than someone who just whinges everything is dreadful but then does nothing about it.
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Old 21st Mar 2012, 01:20   #3 (permalink)
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Hot sunny weather through the year; lower cost of living than UK; duty free shops.
I don't see what there is to moan about apart from voluntarily working for SERCO.(who only took over IAL to get their hands on its pension fund anyway)
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Old 21st Mar 2012, 04:57   #4 (permalink)
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You sound like someone who must have all the answers. Why don't you just pop along to PM's office and point him in the right direction, tell him where you think he's going wrong. While you're at it you can tell him where the big pot of money is that you think exists. I'm glad you're here to make everything right.

Seriously though, you clearly have no idea how it all works. You're obviously one of the whiners who are very good at sitting on the sideline spouting off about what they think is wrong with the world but doing nothing to help fix it. Trust me - the people involved aren't stupid. They know what's needed but also understand the constraints and that's where you have a hole in your knowledge.

If you genuinely believe you're better off back home then perhaps you should start packing cos right now you are part of the problem, not the solution. Perhaps you'll be better off back home in the rain, paying a mortgage and driving a Kia.

Stop acting so precious and get involved.

Last edited by Red Dragon; 21st Mar 2012 at 05:13.
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Old 21st Mar 2012, 11:51   #5 (permalink)
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Those whinging about Dubai need to open their eyes and come over to Muscat ACC for a look. If you want bad conditions, crap salary with no benefits or gratuity and a complete disaster for management this is the place to be. As far as the Middle East goes you guys are in a far better position than most, so as previously mentioned, you could pack your bags.
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Old 21st Mar 2012, 20:27   #6 (permalink)
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Perhaps you'll be better off back home in the rain, paying a mortgage and driving a Kia
Hey, what's wrong with a Kia? Does fine in the sand here......
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Old 22nd Mar 2012, 07:43   #7 (permalink)
Join Date: Sep 2001
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Hot sunny weather through the year;
Assuming you mean that in a positive sense, it's a bit like saying Alaska is "nice and cool" in the winter!

Methinks that someone has never spent a summer in a country where the average daily temp is in the high forties to low fifties (celsius) from May to September


Stop acting so precious and get involved.
Steady on - you'll be asking him to "get on the bus" next!
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Old 22nd Mar 2012, 08:24   #8 (permalink)
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I'm sure if Dubai is that bad you could always swap with some of the Baghdad crew - there are a few that would take you up on it.

Then you too could have the pleasure of seeing your family every 2-3 months rather than coming home to them at night. Living in a compound where the only place you go to outside of it is work, rather than the malls, cinemas etc of the emirates. Not to mention you probably live in a rather pleasant villa / apartment rather than, however much you try and talk it up, something which is nothing more than a glorified portacabin.

How many car bombs have you heard when you're out and about?

Feel free to PM me if you fancy a change of scenery - I quite fancy some of your "hardships"
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Old 22nd Mar 2012, 10:34   #9 (permalink)
Join Date: Oct 2002
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Bit harsh on the OP

Everything is relative and it's amazing how fellow ATCOs suddenly get afflicted with short term memory loss when its ATCOs from different units who suddenly start 'whingeing'.

Not too long ago on these forums it was NATS ppl grumbling and moaning about pay. Suddenly they get 2 successive 5% pay rises and, lo and behold, they're happy. And then start getting twitchy with others.

As I said it's all relative and when there are deteriorations in a working environment, people are going to start talking about it. You could be earning £500,000 in the cushiest job with the best T&Cs going, but if managers then started fiddling with that, would you stay quiet? Of course not.

I believe ATCOs in Dubai have a legitimate claim for a fair pay rise given the fact that we regularly get emails saying how passenger numbers and movements increase significantly month on month, not just year on year. Surely if you're working almost 20%, if not more, traffic since the last proper payrise, you could be forgiven for expecting some kind of reward?

Personally, I'm very happy in Dubai but a fair payrise would go a long way here considering recent events, in particular recent treatment towards longstanding staff, plus the already mentioned traffic increases in the last 12-24 months. I genuinely can't complain about Serco as a company and I've been genuinely surprised at how different the reality is once you actually work for Serco, compared to the ludicrous propaganda peddled by NATS starting from day 1 at (what was) CATC.

Serco are far from perfect and things could deteriorate rapidly if recent managerial attitudes continue unchecked but to start having a pop at the OP for voicing genuine concerns seems somewhat unfair and, frankly, childish.

As ATCOs, should we not all be trying to stick together, regardless of where we work rather than sticking the boot in? We've seen what has happened with aviation in the West since the birth of the lo-co airlines and the way that eventually brings down Ts & Cs across the board, what makes you think ATC would be immune to that over time?

Last edited by mhk77; 22nd Mar 2012 at 10:47.
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Old 22nd Mar 2012, 10:57   #10 (permalink)
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Extremely well said, MHK77.

Chilli Monster: How many of the things you mention did you NOT know about before going to Iraq? Feel free to keep telling us how bad it is...
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Old 22nd Mar 2012, 13:37   #11 (permalink)
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Ferris - it's all relative. I don't believe I mentioned the word "bad", just intimated that the gentleman might like to swap his life style and conditions. I don't think anyone comes here NOT knowing what to expect, but a year or just over is about the limit for most people. Some don't even do that long.

They do say a change is as good as a rest
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Old 22nd Mar 2012, 21:51   #12 (permalink)
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You just don't get it. Then again, you are in Iraq......
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Old 22nd Mar 2012, 22:38   #13 (permalink)
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Chilli... What on earth possessed you to go there in the first place?
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Old 22nd Mar 2012, 23:31   #14 (permalink)
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Yahoo - having never worked at TC, or NATS for that matter, sorry to disappoint.

HD - you have a PM.
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Old 26th Mar 2012, 21:12   #15 (permalink)
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Firstly, let's not talk around the braai as our SA friends would say. I too am extremely upset with the leadership team and their lack of being able to stand behind ATCOs and their "needs". It seems as if piece by piece our perks are being chipped away and no prospect or plan is being considered for retaining staff.

Dubai and most of the Middle East for that matter is experiencing what most parts of the World is not. Extreme increase in traffic, strong inflation of prices and a work environment that when it comes to equipment, procedures etc. simply sucks! Therefore anyone that is not in this part of the World simply cannot point fingers at their fellow ATCOs over here, for standing up for their rights and extreme worries.

The lame excuse there is no money in the pot is old and simply not good enough. How can it be that Dubai Airports is proudly announcing on their website that they are spending a whopping 7.8 BILLION DOLLARS on airport expansions etc. to increase their capacity from 60 mio pax to 90 mio pax by 2018. Let's understand here that we therefore will be capable of moving 50% more pax (and they're the ones essentially paying our salaries). In other words there will be up to 50% more revenue for DA and we are expected to cope with this and just suck it up oh and wait, according to the roadshow no future benefits for us besides being proud of ourselves for being a part of this extraordinary development! Let's not forget that Emirates and DA are making extraordinary profits year after year and all their employees are getting increases and profit shares, why not us?

Let's put this into reality: A kid sets up a lemonade stand in front of his house and sells 1 liter per day. He pays his parent's $ 2.- per liter (supermarket cost) and is allowed to keep the other $3.- he makes. Now all of a sudden the local rugby, cricket, football and marathon teams come jogging by his house everyday and he starts selling 11 liters per day. Well it goes without saying that the little guy has loads more work to do to keep up with the demand, but to make matters worse his parents decide that he is still only allowed to keep $3.- a day and they will take the rest of the profits and stick it in their pockets. Which one of you out there would tell the kid to stop selling lemonade or at least try to renegotiate with his parents? Well the same goes for Dubai ATC...

One last thing. It was clearly mentioned at the roadshow that any ATCOs only interested in the financial benefits of working in Dubai are in the wrong place. Isn't the financial and lifestyle criteria exactly why most of us are here in the first place?

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Old 26th Mar 2012, 21:21   #16 (permalink)
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Red Dragon,

Perhaps you'll be better off back home in the rain, paying a mortgage and driving a Kia

Let's get something straight here: as much as I know it pissed rain today in Dubai , loads of us are paying mortgages (most of which are higher than property value!) oh and most of us are driving Kias, Toyotas, Hyundais and Hondas. Sorry mate...
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Old 26th Mar 2012, 22:52   #17 (permalink)
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The cycle swings around again.

Only time things will change is when people start leaving and the service is compromised. Has happened before and will happen again, just ask the old timers.
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Old 27th Mar 2012, 08:34   #18 (permalink)
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Let's get something straight here: as much as I know it pissed rain today in Dubai , loads of us are paying mortgages (most of which are higher than property value!) oh and most of us are driving Kias, Toyotas, Hyundais and Hondas. Sorry mate...
Ok, fair point and perhaps it was a sweeping generalisation. I think the lemonade stand example is overly simplistic though. I think the relationship between Department of Finance, Dubai Airports and the Serco contract is somewhat more complex. Whilst I agree that we should be recognised for increased productivity it's not quite as easy to say - "you're making more so we should get a bigger slice". The economics of the contract, and the room for manouevre, are limited. Perhaps if DA de-link themselves from DoF there would be more scope for performance related bonuses.

The competition may advertise efficiencies, but that'll more than likely be achieved by centralising support services. The coalface ATCOs are unlikely to make any gains though.
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Old 27th Mar 2012, 20:32   #19 (permalink)
Join Date: Feb 2012
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Why won't you guys just call in sick....all day, no one comes to work....do ya really think y' all be let go??? Stop whinging on prune and do something about it. Ye are clearly not happy (and yere points are valid) so send a bloody message out. Even if everyone doesn't call sick (cause there will be a bunch who actually think they'll be fired for not turning up to work cause they're sick ), you'll send a VERY clear message out to the people that matter!!!

Anyone who comes to the UAE, does so to improve something, be it financial or lifestyle or whatever else. If that gets a little difficult to do, people will leave. And that's fair enough. Unfortunately you don't have union assistance here as you may have at home, so it's up to you to do something about it. Stop pouring your heart out on PPRuNe and start acting.

The Approach service at DXB is getting better. Far better than many years ago. There's still some old wood that needs burning, but, hey, no system's perfect. It would be a shame to lose the momentum now.

Anyhow, best of luck.......
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Old 28th Mar 2012, 07:10   #20 (permalink)
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The fact is and will remain so that unless people start leaving nothing will be done. And lets face it who is leaving this place? The Safo's have got no choice,the Kiwi's and the Scans have limited (if any) opportunities at all back home. The same more or less goes for the rest not to mention that some are stuck with mortgages which will take a lifetime to pay!

Then you get a roadshow which concludes with a not so subtle threat that your company will run you over if you don't stay in line and some stupid pr.ck who blurts out that things are not to standard and brings out an investigation on how things are going screwing his own mates in the process and you get the picture of how things look. Its not all doom and gloom of course, its still relatively well paid compared to other places but the general perception is that it's not enough. Morale is in the abyss and it will take more than a fancy roadshow to get it up again.

I think that's what Dubye is trying to say and what others, including me feel. I also think that with the first good opportunity that comes along - even with a bit less pay - I will certainly be out of this dusthole!

Last edited by TheFalcon; 28th Mar 2012 at 14:34.
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