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Mega Merged: AsA ATC staffing levels

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Mega Merged: AsA ATC staffing levels

Old 9th Nov 2007, 22:07
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Have to agree with previous post. This is a development that should concern anyone that commits aviation in controlled airspace.

Morale is non existent. The rhetoric from TFN and his isolated YSCB cohorts is demeaning and seems like it comes from a different company altogether.

* The SDE circus has been implemented in the typical knee jerk manner that this company loves to do things. In our location it has amplified staff shortages as the 3 nominees now no longer hold ratings to satisfy their FLM duties - whatever they may be.

Summary: 3 people now do the job of 1 former manager. None of which hold useful ratings.

* Retirements are required to give 1 years notice however for some reason they still seem to catch smiles and faces by surprise. A recent case of a check controller retiring is a classic example. Instead of a smooth, well planned handover to his replacement, the position was NOT even advertised until 2 weeks before his retirement!!!! This is despite repeated "reminders" of the pending problem.

Summary: Now several weeks after the checkie has left their is STILL no check controller appointed. What problem they say!! We are working on it.

* Pressure being bought to bare on controllers to take the annual leave that they are accruing. But how can we take it when there are no staff to allow the leave? What about the LSL that people are unable to take?

Summary: The company is running threadbare on controllers. The effect this has on morale is twofold. Firstly no leave and continuing crap rosters increases sick leave and decrease morale. The fabled morale spiral dive.

Second, borderline controllers that may or may not be suitable are more likely to get through due to the pressure of staff shortages. Oh no you cry we don't compromise standards. Reality has to be considered here folks.

* New "engagement" of controllers. This involves increasing middle management (see above) and then getting these FLM's to justify there existence by creating/inventing "tasks" to be given to frontline staff. Now this is to make us feel warm and fuzzy. Make us feel that our little cog is important in keeping the ASA merry go round pumping.

Reality: Controllers working on crap rosters, not able to get leave and struggling with staff shortages already do not WANT or NEED to do other tasks to feel engaged. This has to be the biggest example of management creating something to rectify a problem (morale) without realising that you need the basics in place.

This post may have turned into a bit of a rant, but it is driven by frustration. And this frustration is widespread throughout the organisation.

Be confident that the controller you speak to is professional and holds his responsibilities and duties in high regard. But also know that the system is threadbare and senior management is unwilling or unable to really address the problem. After yet another restructure to shuffle the chairs morale is plummeting.

Lets hope that this charade can be stopped sooner rather than later.
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Old 10th Nov 2007, 06:08
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Guys ... reality check time ...
All of what you say is correct,eg. morale is low, lots of overtime has to be done, no holidays .....blah, blah blah

BUT! ... Are aircraft still getting properly separated? Are aircraft still landing at Sydney? Are aircraft still departing from Brisbane? Are budgets being cut? Is more being done with less? YES! YES! and YES!

Seems to me that the CEO deserves his bonus then!

Do you think he cares HOW he got the outcomes? Do you think the Minister cares how Airservices got their outcomes?

I'm afraid bleating ain't gunna get you what you want ... as long as the outcomes are still being provided.
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Old 10th Nov 2007, 08:02
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Mate, I am still rolling into work and seeing the same blokes propping it all up while in the next breath complaining about it all. It is fast becoming a lost cause.

The short sightedness of these idiots stupifies me. They carry on about their loans and their boats and needing to service them but if they had some nuts the last 9 years, it would be a far different climate to today. I still shake my head that a good third of the membership jumped all over AWAs to become ALMs (arse licking mongrels) and the union/general staff have sucked it up and said nothing. Piss weak.

I even heard one of the pricks saying that seeing as he no longer gets paid for OT he will not be bringing in a few treats for the boys. Now, seeing as the AWA had a heap of phat loot for the OT, he has already forgotten that he is being paid for it. Very ATC of him. Not that I have ever eaten from the OT jar on purpose as I don't do them but the attitude is what TFN and bum chums are rubbing their hands/lubing the fist over.
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Old 10th Nov 2007, 12:34
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Morale even lower?

Flightfocus and Nilcontrol - great posts!

You sum up the feeling of the ATCs working at the moment beautifully. I do wonder at the disconnect between management and ATC now. For management to announce this single person doggo/unqualified break via an email without apparently having done any discussion first is terrible communication (at best!).
Then they announce the forums (3) but of course very few people can get there as they are propping up the roster (and who wants to come unpaid to work on their day off).

For the most part I wonder what can possibly be done to reconnect ATC with management. To have a safety based company which fails (in every way) to listen to its operational staff is crazy. I keep picturing the Uberlingen/Lexington etc reports with AsA inserted for Euro/FAA and all the same lines apply. How can this not scare managment as much as it worries me?

Blue
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Old 10th Nov 2007, 21:03
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Because ....

They have all their eyes dotted and their tees crossed.

You are confusing working conditions with safety & operational outcomes.

They would have done all their safety cases, hazids and would have contingency plans in place. They have fatigue management systems and policies in place. Point to one thing that they are doing that is illegal. I'm sure even the one man doggo has been covered off. They aren't silly.

Now, consider ... what if the proverbial DOES hit the fan. I can only see the finger pointing at the troops. "But I was too tired after doing lots of overtime Your Honour"... "Did you abide by the employer's Fatigue Managamnent Policy, son?" ... "Ah ... but ..."

That's just one scenario. I'll leave it to you to consider every situation that could go wrong. Then consider what Airservices has in place to cover itself off. Then consider what you have in place to cover yourself off.

Oh, the working conditions .. that's another story ... there are ways to go about getting them re-modelled.
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Old 11th Nov 2007, 08:36
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Peuce exactly.........
Be very carfeul people doing extra shifts, remember its up to you on your days off whether you are fit or not? If you have an incident, and or accident (lets pray to god we dont) dont think an excuse "well I was fatigued" wil cover you? Before you know it, it will be your fault that YOU went in on your day off, you had the choice to weigh up your fatigue, but you measured it as sufficient? Sufficient to what? Reasonable OT? I dont think so................
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Old 14th Nov 2007, 04:01
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Well done to all concerned, are these breaks happening? Has anyone stood themselves down yet?

13 November 2007

Short Break procedures

Civil Air directs members not to handover any operational position to a person who is not endorsed and recent on that position.

Where endorsed and recent staff are not available to provide a break, members must be cognisant of their personal fitness for duty, including the impact of fatigue on fitness for duty, and their responsibilities under the relevant Civil Aviation Regulations.

Where personal fitness for duty cannot be guaranteed, members should advise their operational supervisor and stand down from operational duty.

Michael Haines
President
What a joke it's come to this.
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Old 14th Nov 2007, 23:28
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Peuce
What you state is correct, but they will go after the money.The Company, not the controller, has that.
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Old 15th Nov 2007, 23:15
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Thumbs down Do it or else!

Company response to controllers refusal to hand over to unqualified staff - "Do it or else".

This leaves the ATC in the enviable position (NOT) of disobeying a direct order/instruction or potentially compromising their license and that of the person they handover to.

TIBA again last night ELW and another sector...

Blue - around where I work morale is terrible and getting worse.
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Old 17th Nov 2007, 10:55
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Angry Wouldn't want to be a board member

You would be seriously nuts to be on the ASA board presently!

When the place really goes to **** and its not that far away, the people with no clue (i.e. the board) will be the ones in the ****!

Oh to be completely ignorant!
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Old 19th Nov 2007, 04:04
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I admire the sentiment but, like last time expect the softcocks to roll over. I hope they prove me wrong. Due to some bizzare chain of events, I have only done 1 OT in 3 years. I have been available heaps but on those days, never got called. All the days they wanted me I either missed the call (95%) or was otherwise engaged baby sitting or just too fatigued to go in.
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Old 19th Nov 2007, 11:34
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The doggos are the tip of the iceberg. People are saying no to them, hence TIBA. There are still plenty of people covering holes during the day. I reckon we averaged 2 clangers a day in our group for the past 6 months. Our minimum staffing levels keep getting shaved, but the holes still exist. Mostly, they get filled. A lot are being done by newbies trying to recover the hit to the back pocket during 18 months of training. Some top end controllers are just sheer greedy. They aren't going to get too many complaints from the main carriers for the doggos because they're hardly up there. Melb Sydney has been closed for something like 7 out of the last 10 nights and no uproar yet. Might be different if it was during the day.
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Old 19th Nov 2007, 16:05
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The cavalry have arrived

Problem is solved, six "internationals" on their way to a sector near you
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Old 20th Nov 2007, 06:54
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And you guys are still manning these positions, unrated?

Surely you're not scared of a little intimidation?

Don't you guys have the backbone to support each other ... if you consider that you are in the right?
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Old 21st Nov 2007, 11:00
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GM Meetings

Peuce, No one is working unqualified as these are the areas (mostly) that have been TIBA. ATC are managing their fatigue and not coming in on days off.

Finally, a response from management - meetings today with the GM (KM) and tomorrow as well. I was present at parts of the meeting today and KM could not possibly have left in doubt of the feelings and concerns of ATC (well done all). Notably, many controllers not known for militancy were loud (and clear) in their communication.

This is (IMHO) the first positive step since the commencement of this insanity. Lets hope KM takes it all on board and at least delays the remaining SDE until the cavalry arives (thanks Hempy).

Blue
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Old 28th Nov 2007, 10:01
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It appears a nationwide problem in ATC staffing levels and not just isolated to Melbourne Centre. Has this got anything to do with SDE?
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Old 29th Nov 2007, 10:14
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SDE

It appears a nationwide problem in ATC staffing levels and not just isolated to Melbourne Centre. Has this got anything to do with SDE?
The general feeling amongst ATC is that staffing levels were critical prior to SDE. Everyone has been working extra shifts to keep things afloat.

To accomodate SDE rosters were split (for example some rocket route sectors) which requires extra staff at the very least until cross ratings are obtained. This left sectors somewhere below critical staff shortages with no end in sight. It also caused management to single staff the night shifts with a TLI directing unqualified ATC to give breaks.

The legality of this TLI is still under question and we await management to meet with Civilair (after some 4 weeks of asking) to help determine this.

So - the short answer to your question is YES. However, it also has to do with extremely poor staff planning on the part of AsA.

Blue
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Old 29th Nov 2007, 11:21
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Thanks Blue, sounds like a happy group of people!

Not quite sure what to make of this, but the below NOTAM's indicate staffing issues in Brisbane and that if you wish to nominate a SARTIME then contact FLIGHTWATCH. The problem being FLIGHTWATCH also is NOTAMed as being short staffed advising pilot's to contact ACC/FIC.

Who is in charge of this company?





ATS C2833/07
DELAY IN PROCESSING OPERATIONAL REQUESTS FOR FIS COM RAS AND SAR
ALERTING SERVICES MAY OCCUR WITHIN THE FOLLOWING CLASS G AIRSPACE
DUE TO STAFF SHORTAGE:

YBBB/BRISBANE RADAR 125.7 BRISBANE/ARCHERFIELD AREA AND 119.5 GOLD
COAST AREA

LATERAL LIMITS: 27 12 00S 152 36 35E
THEN ALONG THE MAJOR ARC OF A CIRCLE OF 30.0NM RADIUS CENTRED ON 27
21 57S 153 08 21E (BN/DME) TO 27 35 19S 153 38 35E, 27 44 36S 154 00
00E, 28 24 39S 154 00 00E THEN ALONG THE MINOR ARC OF A CIRCLE OF 30
NM RADIUS CENTERED ON 28 10 08S 153 30 14E (CG DME) TO 28 28 27S 153
03 16E 28 26 13S 152 36 35E
THEN ALONG THE MINOR ARC OF A CIRCLE OF 70.0NM RADIUS CENTRED ON 27
21 57S 153 08 21E (BN/DME) TO 28 19 11S 152 22 38E, 27 53 24S 152 45
11E, 27 47 06S 152 49 49E, 27 44 13S 152 51 55E, 27 42 34S 152 52
59E, 27 13 25S 152 41 03E, 27 12 00S 152 36 35E

VERTICAL LIMITS: SFC - BASE OF CTA

ATS SERVICES LIMITED ON 125.7, 119.5. PILOTS NOMINATING SARTIME
SHOULD CONTACT FLIGHTWATCH.

PILOTS REQUIRING MORE INFO FOR OPR IN THIS AIRSPACE SHOULD CONTACT
BRISBANE OPERATIONS DIRECTOR BY TEL 07 3866 3224
FROM 11 292100 TO 11 300200



ATS YMMM C5358/07 REVIEW C5284/07
ON-REQUEST FLIGHT INFORMATION (FIS), SARTIME AND EMERGENCY
ALERTING SERVICES NORMALLY PROVIDED BY FLIGHTWATCH ON DISCRETE VHF
FREQUENCIES NOT AVBL
DUE TO STAFF SHORTAGE.

SERVICES AFFECTED:

ON-REQUEST FLIGHT INFORMATION (FIS), SARTIME AND EMERGENCY ALERTING
SERVICES PROVIDED AS A GHOSTING FUNCTION BY FLIGHTWATCH ON DISCRETE
VHF FREQUENCIES.

118.95 MANINGRIDA
119.4 BUNDABERG AND TOWNSVILLE
120.1 GOVE
120.7 PERTH
121.1 SYDNEY
121.3 WESTERN VICTORIA
121.6 PORT MACQUARIE, WILLIAMTOWN AND SCONE AREAS
122.1 ARMIDALE, GLEN INNES AND COFFS HARBOUR AREAS
124.0 WALGETT, MOREE, COOLAH AND CAIRNS AREA
124.1 MOUNT ISA AREA
124.95 CENTRAL VICTORIA
128.15 NORTHERN NSW AREA
128.2 WHITSUNDAY ISLAND AREA
128.55 MILDURA
128.75 MAROOCHYDORE/BRISBANE AREAS
133.45 ROCKHAMPTON/GLADSTONE AREAS
134.85 MUDGEE AREA
135.05 SOUTHERN NSW
135.6 EASTERN VICTORIA

ON-REQUEST FLIGHT INFORMATION (FIS), SARTIME AND EMERG ALERTING
SERVICES PROVIDED BY FLIGHTWATCH ON DISCRETE VHF FREQ

118.4 ARGYLE
120.15 TINDAL
122.3 DARWIN
124.95 THURSDAY ISLAND AREA

ON-REQUEST FLIGHT INFORMATION (FIS), SARTIME AND EMERG ALERTING
SERVICES AVAILABLE ON FIA FREQUENCIES OR HF (REFER ERSA FAC-B
BRISBANE ACC/FIC AND FAC-M MELBOURNE ACC/FIC).
FROM 11 230013 TO 11 300100 EST
MON TO FRI 2200-0100
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Old 7th Dec 2007, 03:02
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Ill second those comments.

The problems within Aircircuses need to be made public.
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Old 7th Dec 2007, 03:41
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And the minister's response...

"Thanks for your letter. I have forwarded your concerns on to AsA and CASA."

Around we go again.
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