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Mega Merged: AsA ATC staffing levels

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Mega Merged: AsA ATC staffing levels

Old 4th Feb 2008, 08:19
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Fark WC, we are right back in 2004 where we were saying all this. Thankfully Dick no longer has the Dep PM under his thumb and is irrelevant. You can always tell how much the Govt listen to him by the number of posts here. They are inversely proportional.
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Old 4th Feb 2008, 09:27
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Guys,

I know we all think Dick has made our work lives more complex and risky but is this really where we want to go with this thread? Is Dick the real enemy here?

For mine (and I must admit to joining AsA from RAAF post-NAS 2b rollback), the system seems to work quite well now (dare I say, world's best practice? ). As such, seeing as Dick's influence is small and waning, shouldn't our real fight be with the bunch of incompetent hypocrites who work and live in CB?????

The people who tell The Australian that it is all the fault of the previous management AFTER telling their workforce that we TFN took over, he had to fix the important parts of the organisation - HR and finance - before he could sort out ATC. WTF?????????

The people who blame 'three or four controllers' for calling in sick in PH when they have single person ops overnight?

For mine, these are our real enemy here and now, not someone who has tried to fit the world to his view point, almost got there and then failed.
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Old 5th Feb 2008, 00:48
  #283 (permalink)  
 
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3 or 4 sick in Perth

I'm sure it's been said somewhere else in here, but there was only one controller sick on TMA doggo Perth and this single shift was unable to be replaced. Any other sickness on the day (west enroute or PerthTMA) was covered by other controllers either on A/d or shift extention.
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Old 5th Feb 2008, 03:41
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Wellconcerned, the success I had regarding the change of policy which resulted in the responsibility for airspace regulation going to the independent safety regulator came solely from the fact that I sent Unsafe Skies to every politician in this country. Many read the document and some contacted me to say they were horrified to hear of the obvious conflict of interest where a profit making body had regulatory responsibilities.

It is the classic example of democracy at work i.e. a citizen can communicate to politicians in relation to an issue of great public interest, and the politicians act. It had nothing to do with any letters being written behind the scenes, or any claimed conspiratorial contact with Ministers and people at Airservices. It was all just about plain commonsense, and when it was properly communicated to our parliamentarians, they acted.

Remember, only a few years before, the Department of Transport had written a paper claiming that it would be a conflict of interest for CASA to be responsible for airspace regulation and that it should remain with Airservices.
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Old 5th Feb 2008, 05:53
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WELLCONCERNED, regardless of what you may think of Dick's arguments and, regardless of what I and others may think of his position on certain issues, that wasn't a good post.

I'd suggest you go and chill out.
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Old 5th Feb 2008, 06:04
  #286 (permalink)  
 
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I have not locked/or deleted this thread because it is an important subject.

WELLCONCERNED, however, is having a week off to think about that last post.

MA
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Old 5th Feb 2008, 06:48
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A change in airspace management is not going to stop the revolving door that is ASA retention. Only a siginificant cultural and renumeration shift is going to achieve this.
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Old 5th Feb 2008, 08:10
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Imagine

I wonder whether it is really all about 'more money'. I suspect that there would be far more to be gained if the work that has been and is being done, is appreciated. All of the 'modern' (sic) management tools and HR fads (you know, reward regimes, coffee once a week, empowerment, equity and diversity [watch that one attract the flies], leadershp model, etc) ins't what it is about. It is about managers getting their hands dirty. And not just those in Canberra, but also the managers in the field.

The reason the SAACs and STACs of the past presided over such a great place to work was because they 'worked' there too and they were a part of the team (Note: I do not subscribe to the Teamwork model either). There is something to be said for being a part fo the action. Those you are leading get to see you actually making both important and mundane decisions and they soon let you know if you are achieving that devine status of 'manager' or not. If you are attuned to such feedback (this is the older style of 360 degree feedback where you actually get it face to face and not anonymously) and if you have the ability (heaven forbid that we should actually seek to have managers with an ability to manage) then you will (maybe) modify your behaviour appropriately. If not then you will fail as a manager; be seen to have failed; and be removed (ooops can we remove them too??)

As a manager, I have always assumed it was my task to find as many people as I could who were capable of replacing me so I could move up the ladder knowing that I had a good bunch to support me. This philosophy seems to have been lost in the last decade or so.

It is interesting to reflect on business performance outcomes when you don't actually focus on business performance outcomes but on the people responsible for them. Generally, if you have a happy workforce, the performance desired is exceeded and you are in a position to share that success with your staff. The next cycle then only improves.

BUT, those involved in the cycle also have to pull their wait. If an Australian ATC just worked his basic shift, then he is at work for 7 hours for 5 days a week (or some other 'equal' combination). During that 7 hours he/she does not actually apply him or herself at 100% capacity for the whole time because there simply isn't the need (a bit different at Heathrow). And then he/she takes home what, in community terms, is considered to be a very reasonable salary; and has the prospects of retiring early with adequate financial means into an old age. It isn't about the money!

It was always pleasing for me to see the number of people who were prepared do much more than simply do their ATC thing. Those are the people we should be embracing and developing. The wingers and the incompetent simply need to be weeded out and be replaced. Recruitment should be based on accepting that some bad eggs will get through the net (I have seen some examples of them here). In other words, train more than we need, then only keep those that are willing to be part of that wonderful upward spiral. You may not believe me, but I can remember when that was exactly what we had. But back then all the bad eggs were well and truly outnumbered by the good ones. And the good ones don't wait around for managers to get their act together, they go in search of such managers. It would seem taht at Airservices we have both too many bad eggs and very poor managers (and not just in Canberra).

Imagine
Imagine a spiral that goes upwards instead of downwards.
It isn't hard to do...
Imagine.....[My apologies to John]
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Old 5th Feb 2008, 08:47
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'bout time you signed up TFN. Let me be the first to say' garn get fuc ked.' It is now about the money home boy and for $300K else where you are going to want to pony up pretty quick.

FFS 'As a manager, I have always assumed it was my task to find as many people as I could who were capable of replacing me so I could move up the ladder'.

That shit makes me want to stab my eyes out with my mobile phone that is switched off so that your idiot front desk dwellers can't call me.

love Plazbot.
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Old 5th Feb 2008, 08:57
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Well, that "engagement" went well.
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Old 5th Feb 2008, 13:55
  #291 (permalink)  
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an Australian ATC just worked his basic shift
Coming from a person who obviously was never able to "just" be a good Air Traffic Controller. The usual scenario is, you can't cut it at the radar, get yourself promoted where you can't kill anyone but just screw up all the good controllers working lives.

The reason ATCOs are selected initially is because of their ability to separate aircraft. The reason they are paid what they are is their ability to separate aircraft. Why is it then that management rewards and appreciates Powerpoint producing, e-mail forwarding oxygen thieves. We are not "just" Air Traffic Controllers, we are Air Traffic Controllers and damn proud of it.
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Old 5th Feb 2008, 22:33
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AnSA, as I'm sure you already know,
the reason most management "rewards and appreciates Powerpoint producing, e-mail forwarding oxygen thieves" is because that's what most of their own job entails, ergo it must be valuable

the fact that ATCO's move the traffic and collect the Avcharges that makes most of the money for AsA seems to be entirely lost on them.

but it's all about them trying to get us to do more and more and more for less and less. Example, we enabled NAS, Alphabet airspace, ALOFT, RVSM etc to work [more or less, in some cases] but these were never recognised at the subsequent EBA because they were "past history" by then, and ATC'ers were supposed to offer more initiatives if we wanted a token payrise.

And now we're somehow supposed to cross-train to enable SDE, the benefits of which are still to be explained precisely, when we have no staff, and no training resources......
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Old 5th Feb 2008, 22:56
  #293 (permalink)  
 
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I recently watched the movie "catch a fire". The gist of the story is about how an ordinary, peaceful man is turned into a hateful terrorist by a hateful regime (the very people who are supposed to be fighting terrorism).
It's very convenient for managers to describe a "few bad apples" as the dissenters and cause of problems. How many at AsA have been turned into "bad apples" by the way they have been treated?

One thing stuck with me from one of those wanky management courses I have attended: Helicopter theory of a workplace culture ie. whilst it is extremely difficult to affect what rains down on you from above in an organisation, you are very able to affect what happens BELOW YOU. So if the people below YOU are unhappy, disgruntled etc. who should be having a look at themselves? YOU, and everyone above YOU. The gist; the shit/disgruntled/disatisfaction rarely starts at the bottom and moves up. It comes from above and flows down. TAKE RESPONSIBILITY.
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Old 5th Feb 2008, 23:50
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I agree it shouldn't always be about the money, that's why I also want mandatory dual staffing. I still can't believe that CASA can buy the whole "we take fatigue seriously" when managers are trying to get people to sign up for 3 consecutive 10hr shifts 1600-0200 and then hitting them with triple doggos when they refuse.
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Old 6th Feb 2008, 00:01
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UndervaluedATC, I loved your statement:

the fact that ATCO's move the traffic and collect the Avcharges that makes most of the money for AsA
This is a truism and why, if it were my business, the ATCs would be Kings and Queens. You are the income producers in the business virtually everything else is ancillary. That is why I cannot understand if the Airservices management is skimping on your training and employment numbers.

Basically, Airservices is an air traffic control organisation which makes its profits from moving big planes safely and expeditiously. It loses money on small planes so it should minimise the services to these while still maintaining high safety levels.

When I owned Dick Smith Electronics, the people behind the counter were the Kings and Queens. They were the ones I kept well paid, and always had adequate staffing levels. That is where the income came from. At Australian Geographic it was the journalists and the photographers who were the Kings and Queens. I always kept them on side and paid them well, because that was the whole success of the business.

For an organisation like Airservices to get so many of its air traffic controllers offside is not very astute in my view.
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Old 6th Feb 2008, 00:07
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ICAO- Delta

Which management position are you in? Come on, you can tell us...
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Old 6th Feb 2008, 01:09
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For an organisation like Airservices to get so many of its air traffic controllers offside is not very astute in my view.
Now that is a truism.

It would be fair to say that there is a perceived need to increase productivity or output of ATC; particularly away from the consoles. When in fact we could all better utilise our away from console time; by spending more time at consoles (see * below).

What I have seen in recent years is 1 hour on 1 hour off; this is believed to be very inefficient; why I'm not sure; perhaps the perception is that your only getting 'half value' for the wages paid.

But this is no longer true; I'm often doing 2hrs in 30 (or less) minutes off and back to 2hrs in. Then there are staffing numbers such as doggos (night shifts) or regional towers or 'low workload' TAAATS positions where 3-4-7 hours of solo duty without a break (just an informal dash to the loo) is the norm.

*We could provide more airspace services at times; particularly on positions where 1 in 1 off is available; but how you harness that ability regularly is beyond me. The rosters are so trimmed that 1 in 1 out is rare not normal. 2hrs working busy positions, is brain numbing and you need to have a real conversation, a bathroom break and maybe some food and drink to recuperate; doing all that in 30 mins or less is nigh on impossible.

It is true that some of what Dick says is true that airspace services could be offered at a higher level of service. But simply changing the class of airspace does not address the safety/training/workload issues.

Birdsville, was quoted recently as a location for E services because it's only one RPT that goes there; the workload problem remains with the IFR aircraft that are captured by the airspace in transit; ie overflying or simply crossing the airway; it distracts from the current 'primary' task of providing upper airspace services; it's not as easy as saying there's only one.

Back to the thread, getting away from airspace; ASA has gone out of there way to run the numbers down, despite the rhetoric. There is and has been a corporate belief that we don't get value for our buck employing ATCs; we must increase their productivity. All efforts to 'create' non console duties have failed due to the overarching reliance on the primary task; ie drop everything and get back to the console. This has resulted in nil effective non-operational tasks in the main. Rosters/Instructions/Procedures etc have often been created and amended in break times; but these have not been recognised by the management. Countless people do the oxygen thieving tasks on their breaks; mainly unrecognised creating the belief that all ATCs hardly work. Look there are some that hardly work, but they are rare.

Low ATC numbers have arisen from the corporate belief that there is 'fat' in the rosters; well we've gutted the pig and found nothing but bones; a malnourished lump in the belly not a thick layer of fat.

We have seen Millions spent on 'efficiency processes' (Rosterman, Microster & Rostima for example); examining/cutting rosters amending minimum coverage hours, squeezing the stone.

But to what end? Where we have actually made coverage cuts; we have seen once "normal staffing" not being able to be achieved when bad weather or unusual circumstances hit; resultant flow on effect is massive industry delays and traffic management to not overload the struggling bodies dealing with the crisis; a crisis which would have been managed in the past by 'normal staffing'.

We have a corporate culture of rostering for 90% (is it even lower now?); that is if we need 5 people nine out of ten days then that is the base roster. Despite the fact that we need 6 people one out of ten; i.e. you can't easily pick the one day. This would be fair enough if you had a good pool of people left to get in on the one out of ten; and you had advance notice of when it's coming; but we all know about the realities.

How do you fix it; well I suggest we all look very seriously about doing non-console tasks; particularly where your not paid or rostered to do them. There is a recognition that we are 36 ATCs short (22 real ones + 14 others). But this is obviously too low to anyone that has to create or work the rosters.

Think of all the tasks that aren't being done; Stream Specialists, non roster line checkers, Head Office staff, Project staff, Training Staff, Group Training specialists, team/training days, refresher training, staff forums etc. We all know that it's bad, and I think we all know it's going to get worse.

There are 300+ ATCs over 50; how long are they going to stay? Many are giving serious thought to altering plans and pulling up stumps early given the current work environment; what if they all did it next week and gave 12 months or less notice? Particularly if the next EBA offer is going to give them less rises than their pension would otherwise move (see USA retirements) Stay at work for less money than in retirement; hmmm let's think about that?

It is apparent to me that there are no short term solutions; but the things that will help is a retention program, an increase in overtime payments, and a large increase in the EBA offer. All of which I don't see happening.

The number one thing that will help increase ATC morale is for Greg Russell to leave; all piss and hot air, nil substance; manipulating/spinning everything. If it's his underlings that have done it then he still needs to go for not owning the outcomes. 2.5 years in the chair and still blaming the previous management, not good enough Greg.

OS recruiting will only raise the numbers short term, because once the global poaching culture is truly established watch the Aussies chase the coin too. Also not sending bad messages back to other countries would help; too bad we've already lost 5 global recruits out of the first 20 recruits; you need to nurture and help, not be your bureaucratic selves, ASA still NFI.
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Old 6th Feb 2008, 05:01
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"too bad we've already lost 5 global recruits out of the first 20 recruits"


Really, well they kept that quiet. What were the reasons??
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Old 6th Feb 2008, 05:30
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Trimming of the roster has become so tight that some groups run a "weather AD" ie. bare bones staff and someone is called in on their day off if the weather forecast looks nasty. Too bad about the weather that's not forecast, the hole in the roster already there that hasn't been able to be filled due staff shortages.

Another issue we face is that for a long time, the "oxygen wasters" in Canberra do not want to support the controllers. A friend of mine who left The Allan Woods Building recently for greener pastures confirmed that ATC's are spoken about with extreme vitriole and are hated by the people who are supposed to be supporting them.
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Old 6th Feb 2008, 05:42
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Believe one global recruit in resignation letter pointed out, amongst other points, unsafe staffing levels and overwork as a factor in not wishing to continue. Management have been horrified by the comments and are taking "real" notice. Of course a controller from O/S would be able to assess the Oz situation and be recognised as an expert far more than the mere plebs who have been working the system for years and who just complain for the sake of blowing hot air!!
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