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ATC Staff Shortage set to bite

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ATC Staff Shortage set to bite

Old 23rd Aug 2005, 12:06
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ATC Staff Shortage set to bite

A little birdy tells me that ATC staff are going to stop working on their days off from next week.

Some impact expected at the major cities.

Apparently constant overtime is all that has been keeping the airspace open for quite some time.

Funny - I thought I read about Airservices getting an International Award for being the best ANSP.

Maybe they meant the best for their profits!
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Old 23rd Aug 2005, 22:09
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Looking forward to Tobzalp chomping into Uncommonsense...

Was that the biting you meant??
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Old 23rd Aug 2005, 22:11
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TIBA procedures took place north of Sydney yesterday afternoon due to staff shortage and noone coming in on their (scarce) day off.
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Old 24th Aug 2005, 01:28
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TIBA procedures took place north of Sydney yesterday afternoon due to staff shortage and noone coming in on their (scarce) day off.

Expect to see more of it I suspect and possibly a tower or two closing in the middle of the night.

ASA management would rather run a constsant overtime line than put on more staff ( and the current recruitment will barely cover retirements in the next 5 years) and never mind about Fatigue Management, Balance of Work and Family etc.
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Old 24th Aug 2005, 01:45
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Sounds like perfect justification for a pay rise fellas.

Low supply and high demand = a deserved salary increase.
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Old 24th Aug 2005, 01:53
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Yes, I have also heard the rumours.

But I would be interested to see how it gets 'spun' by the media/pr types, considering the rumour is that people just want to have their days off.

What will be more interesting is when the protected period for the new Certified Agreement commences in late October. The way things have been going, one can only wonder.

Last edited by Uncommon Sense; 24th Aug 2005 at 12:47.
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Old 24th Aug 2005, 12:38
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Heard about a couple of guys in Melbourne who arranged a golf day many moons ago. One rang in sick to be there, but the other took the emergency duty so wasn't there anyhow. Much gnashing of teeth.

Cryptic, anonymus message in my inbox at work about this today. Can it triumph over greed/diligence as shown above? Can it compare to the national day of inaction of last 25NOV???

I have not had a day off without a phone call for 3 weeks.
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Old 24th Aug 2005, 13:03
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I know of a couple of great guys who were just turned down for the ATC role... shame really. Are they too fussy or are there not enough GOOD applicants? What's the pay like in comparison to the rest of the western world? (PM's welcome).

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Old 24th Aug 2005, 22:15
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I had a few days off with the flu recently an was actually called to come in as a morning shift to be relief for the night shift that I was actually sick for. There was even a recent instance of someone getting stood down due to a naughty type thing then stood up then sent home early to be able to come back 8 hours later to cover an unfillable night shift. It may be $65 an hour for normal time but when you never get days off you can't spend it.
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Old 24th Aug 2005, 23:21
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perhaps your right - because what you wrote is in print and on the interent, somebody might actually believe it!
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Old 25th Aug 2005, 09:25
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Pay and conditions are certainly not in line with the rest of the world. But despite that, I know a controller from overseas (with all the requirements, Oz Residency etc. and 10 years experience, 5 years enroute-radar too) who wanted to join Airservices last year. Went thru the application and interview stages and was finally turned down.

Shortage of controllers, slow training... but still reject an experienced controller who only needed the "Short Course" to start work? Hmmm, doesn't add up.

Anyone in the know of the current situation for controllers with prior experience from overseas?
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Old 25th Aug 2005, 09:35
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I think that unfortunately when it comes to hiring in AsA, the KPIs are king. People get bonuses through the normal route of hiring and they will not stray from it even though the experience base is getting less and less and a few experienced controllers would go down very well. Typical of a company with 'business units'. Side note, we got two kiwis last year and they started on a pay scale not much above the brand new guys. As they got redundancy from their old employer, it added up the same but for anyone wanting to come from elsewhere (I know a few) they just are not going to take the massive pay cut to come and work for a bunch of c(_)nts.
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Old 26th Aug 2005, 03:28
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According to management, Brisbane Centre is actually overstaffed!! (go figure.)

That's why they don't need controllers from O/S.
Its funny how they are overstaffed, and yet have to relly on overtime to keep things running.
I hope the place comes to a grinding halt.

On another note, I also heard that QF are asking for compensation for when airspace is TIBA. They argue, why should we pay for a service that wasn't provided.
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Old 26th Aug 2005, 04:41
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So is the required overtime because there are positions which are unstaffed because there are not enough ATC's or is it to cover people going sick etc?

An earlier post said that someone gets called up one their days off to come into work. To me that sounds like someone has gone sick at short notice.

If you get called up to come to work on days off surely you can just say "no, I am busy". If you say "yes, I'll come to work" then that is your choice and you get paid accordingly. I'm sure some people would love the extra cash.

What's the big deal...just say "no thanks" and head off to the beach.
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Old 26th Aug 2005, 04:47
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Overtime is rostered, ie, they knew it was a blank shift and have offered it to all as overtime. If it does not get filled, or someone calls in sick, this shift is an ED, or Emergency Duty. That's how it works.
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Old 26th Aug 2005, 05:35
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I too got told last year by a HR lady with the initials that resemble NH that Brisbane Centre was "overstaffed". I was on a doggo so called the controller on TOPS and when he stopped laughing he told me the truth. He in fact wanted to go to Melb centre on transfer but was unreleasable due to lack of staff. So much for being "overstaffed".

It seems though that HR for ATM are concentrating their efforts on recruiting opposition controllers (ie RAAF) for Melbourne Centre and stating that Brisbane is "not available". Disregarding experienced controllers, whether they be from overseas or the RAAF seems rediculous, but then again it doesnt seem that the college has the capability to train these people anyway, whether it be a "short" course or a normal one.
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Old 26th Aug 2005, 09:29
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I believe the OT was to cover unplanned absences, but now it is often to cover planned absences as well - or what might be called shortfalls.

How the 'overstaffing' statement can be made? I don't have the answer.
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Old 26th Aug 2005, 09:59
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There is a formula used by AsA to work out staffing requirements. This formula takes into account training, rec. leave, etc. It does not take into account sick leave or long service leave. This formula indicates that BN Centre is actually overstaffed??

When training comes up that has not been planned for, eg. Option 3 in NAS, this then means a lot of overtime to both fill controller seats and also train controllers. There is no surplus of controllers.

Also, if we go through a period of high sick leave, say in July/August, the Flu season, any surplus is quickly accounted for, and ED and Overtime is used to man consoles.

There is little, if no "fat" in ATC manning to account for such contingencies without relying on overtime or EDs.

The ATC college is also understaffed. I recently visited, and the guys there tried to shut the door and keep me there. That's how desperate they are for instructors!

BN Centre runs on the bones of it's arse. Every roster has been trimmed of any excess staff, and overtime and ED is used to fill shortfalls. Consequently, if a lot of controllers go sick at about the same time ( and this does happen from time to time), then you'll see airspace go TIBA.
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Old 27th Aug 2005, 00:06
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It's true.

AsA are hanging out the "no vacancy" sign at present. Qantas might want to take that into account next time they are TIBA? It's not hard to work out whats going on when the website says there are vacancies for trainees (who will be years away from FPC), yet experienced controllers are not required.
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Old 27th Aug 2005, 00:36
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BN is over, yet has troubles filling shifts, ML is 27 under using the same formula; no wonder we are sick to death of working ot and eds.

Not so easy to say "no thanks" Baileys; we all know what it's like to be left without support at the console; last thing done is slow traffic rates; so you just cope with more traffic per head. It's sh!tful.

When you get the call at home, 'you are our last chance', often permiates the tone of the call. You also understand what it's like to be left as a single individual or two individuals when the normal number is 5 staff on duty; for a particular area.

Is this miss management or deliberate... We all know that it is cheaper to fill shifts with ot and ed than have a fulltime body sitting there just in case.

Unlike an airliner if a tech crew body doesn't front the plane doesn't go; if you have a drop out or two on the console 'team' then it's just less breaks and mulitple single sectors (freq's) combined onto one position. Of course there are 'contingency plans' but these are universally ignored, mostly because the ATCs don't know what's in them and the managers don't want to flag to higher managers about the reasons for these contingencies being enacted.

If the ATC actually make a point of not comming to work on their days off the system will be at breaking point quickly; because at present the whole structure rely's on the greedy ATC mentality of chasing the money; even if that's not the reason most give up their day off; see above about not letting mates down and pressures applied.
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