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The Coming Battle

Fragrant Harbour A forum for the large number of pilots (expats and locals) based with the various airlines in Hong Kong. Air Traffic Controllers are also warmly welcomed into the forum.

The Coming Battle

Old 11th Apr 2020, 16:00
  #61 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: Apr 2009
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Flying Clog. The reason CX has the bases in their cross hairs is that they are intending to first destroy the base conditions, by using the HK based pilots exclusively, to demonstrate that they don't "need" the based pilots (doubt that...?, just wait for the May rosters). Then, once they have reduced the base conditions to less than half where they currently stand, they will use the base pilots exclusively, to demonstrate that they don't need the "expensive" HK pilots. It's devious, immoral and destructive, but that is what the Swire's do, and are planning to do. Doubt that at your peril. You may wish to consider Traf's advice a bit further.
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Old 11th Apr 2020, 16:13
  #62 (permalink)  
 
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Originally Posted by Flying Clog View Post
Oh behave you lot. For crying out loud.

Let's get back to the thrust of this thread, what Trafalgar started. He's absolutely bang on by the way. So you bedwetting snowflake insta crowd wind your necks in.

Back to my question which was lost in the bickering over the last few posts -

vvvvvvvvvvv

Can someone remind me why Cx mismanagement has the bases in their crosshairs?

Is it that they want to close them? Which makes no sense as they're a HUGE cost saving..

Or is it that they feel they can attack Ts and Cs on the bases whilst hanging the threat of base closure over the pilot's heads?
I think as Traf rightly posted it's to exploit the fear and inaction which seems to pervade this place (and which I'll not miss). People talk big but precious few have actually done anything to make their lot better (and many of those who did relied on third party adjudication on bases and/or regulatory entities to make this happen). Strangely enough just about every other carrier HAS managed to make money in this ball park (notwithstanding the current hoo-haw which will be largely subsidized in China, HKG, the US and elsewhere mitigating any real risk to the high rollers). And when things get back to normal a year or two downline these same entities will be the first to cash in. As much as this thing is a crisis it is also an opportunity.

The Company always takes the long view; the pilot body cowers and caves in the short term with some cataclysm or another and manages to screw itself. It's pretty clear under the current circumstances that this is an opportunity for the pilot body to force layoffs (with pay protection) and dingle the Company's long term plan to hire cheap POS 18ers and continue to play the new hires on a series of declining contracts off against the old heads (bringing working conditions down for everyone). If the company refuses to do this it can pay to idle.

Bases are problematic for the company because a few CAN actually stand up and do what's right and they have to negotiate in any case. Better to use them as a whipsaw while they can and have their 'leadership' running under a desk with the crisis du jour. Unfortunately many of them missed the "know when to hold them" portion of the Kenny Rogers song and love to fold at the drop of a hat while holding three kings.

Last edited by Slasher1; 11th Apr 2020 at 16:33.
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Old 11th Apr 2020, 16:18
  #63 (permalink)  
 
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The apocalypse is coming, and Traf is simply giving advice based on decades of experience with Swire's. If you want to attack him, instead of his message then feel free. Most readers of this thread (15K and counting) know where the greater truth lies. The rest of you who are bought off by the pervasive immorality of the Swire culture can go to your graves with the knowledge that you sold out. Again, 15000 views clearly shows what most people think of Traf's comments. CX management are minnows compared to that fast flowing river.
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Old 11th Apr 2020, 18:25
  #64 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: Dec 2005
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Globocnik sounds a lot like a management troll to me
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Old 11th Apr 2020, 18:44
  #65 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: Dec 2018
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Surely the answer for all this is for United to simply tell the company directors to back down when they call him for advice. Then right after that he can get back to giving Chuck Yeagar advice on how to fly planes.
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Old 12th Apr 2020, 01:27
  #66 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: Aug 2006
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Originally Posted by Flying Clog View Post
Can someone remind me why Cx mismanagement has the bases in their crosshairs?

Is it that they want to close them? Which makes no sense as they're a HUGE cost saving..

Or is it that they feel they can attack Ts and Cs on the bases whilst hanging the threat of base closure over the pilot's heads?
A couple of reasons.

Bases actually save the company very little once the administration costs, local legislation entitlements and legal fees are taken into account. It’s also a rostering issue diluting the highly productive flying but also limiting the options for certain bases to be consistently rostered to 84 hours. In short they were more problem than they were worth.
In 2017 when the company was looking at saving money they had zero interest in opening up bases back to 2010 levels (around 40% v 20% in 2017). It was only when attrition was becoming a major factor in 2018/19 that the carrot of bases was partially reopened, as they now fixed a problem.
As neither retention nor recruitment is a factor in the current environment, bases have lost their usefulness. Short term thinking perhaps, but perfectly consistent with management’s short term tenures and short term KPI’s.

Also looking at savings from bases as opposed to Hong Kong is maximum return for least amount of effort/cost. The four based groups operate under some sort of collective bargaining. The company can negotiate with four entities and yet be negotiating with hundreds of pilots. In Hong Kong each pilot is on an individual contract between themselves and the company with no third party having a right to negotiate or adjust that contract.

Then there’s Hong Kong’s complete lack of modern labor laws. It’s pretty simple there. Either someone is employed completely in accordance with their contract, or they’re not employed. There’s no middle ground such as “stood down” etc.

Trav, I can only assume you weren’t involved in the domestic pilots dispute in Australia. The union there advised all pilots to resign believing the companies would blink with the cost of accepting the resignations outweighing the pay demands. As we know they stared straight ahead unflinching.
I’m not saying your tactic doesn’t have merit, I’m just not sure that the same level of solidarity exists in 2020 as it did in the 1980’s.

Last edited by Progress Wanchai; 12th Apr 2020 at 01:59.
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Old 12th Apr 2020, 02:11
  #67 (permalink)  
 
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The big difference to the OZ dispute is that Traf is not advocating the threat of mass resignation (saying you will leave your job is a much different, and ultimately self-harming tactic). What Traf is saying is that if the company threatens base closure (or a massive pay cut), then ensure they realise your response WILL be to return to HK on full contract terms and conditions. If they company believes that ALL will elect to do that, there is at least a better chance that they will rethink that plan and back away to consider something more sensible. Certainly, if they think you will all roll over liked whipped little puppies you can be certain they will hit you with everything they have. Once the bases are taken care of, then will come the turn of HK.
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Old 12th Apr 2020, 02:24
  #68 (permalink)  
 
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Originally Posted by Progress Wanchai View Post
A couple of reasons.

Bases actually save the company very little once the administration costs, local legislation entitlements and legal fees are taken into account. It’s also a rostering issue diluting the highly productive flying but also limiting the options for certain bases to be consistently rostered to 84 hours. In short they were more problem than they were worth.
In 2017 when the company was looking at saving money they had zero interest in opening up bases back to 2010 levels (around 40% v 20% in 2017). It was only when attrition was becoming a major factor in 2018/19 that the carrot of bases was partially reopened, as they now fixed a problem.
As neither retention nor recruitment is a factor in the current environment, bases have lost their usefulness. Short term thinking perhaps, but perfectly consistent with management’s short term tenures and short term KPI’s.

Also looking at savings from bases as opposed to Hong Kong is maximum return for least amount of effort/cost. The four based groups operate under some sort of collective bargaining. The company can negotiate with four entities and yet be negotiating with hundreds of pilots. In Hong Kong each pilot is on an individual contract between themselves and the company with no third party having a right to negotiate or adjust that contract.

Then there’s Hong Kong’s complete lack of modern labor laws. It’s pretty simple there. Either someone is employed completely in accordance with their contract, or they’re not employed. There’s no middle ground such as “stood down” etc.

Trav, I can only assume you weren’t involved in the domestic pilots dispute in Australia. The union there advised all pilots to resign believing the companies would blink with the cost of accepting the resignations outweighing the pay demands. As we know they stared straight ahead unflinching.
I’m not saying your tactic doesn’t have merit, I’m just not sure that the same level of solidarity exists in 2020 as it did in the 1980’s.

oh they flinched alright, several times........especially Australian Airlines under Strong...


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Old 12th Apr 2020, 03:49
  #69 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: Mar 2015
Location: HKG
Posts: 173
If a new contract is worse than an exisiting one the employee must agree to the change. SLS is a variation to the contract, which reduced our pay, so you had to agree to it. The company couldn't force SLS onto us and they can't force a new contract onto us.

They could offer a new contract and reach agreement with the AOA that it be recommended to the membership and voted on, but as we no longer (thank f**k) just rely on a simply majority, a contract which cuts from non-POS18 pilots is unlikely to pass. They would also have to offer a new contract to non-AOA pilots, who could refuse it.

Yes, they can change their policies (housing, education etc) as they see fit.

If the money is running out the COSs are clear. Last on, first off. They will want to avoid this as it costs money (severance pay, transporting aircrew back to home countries etc).

The way out of this is fast and reliable virus testing as part of the check in process and arrival procedure. Immunity certificates may also free up citizens to work and travel more freely. The current bans won't last forever, hopefully there is enough money to carry us through so we can then reap the profits in the new world order.

Don't worry about what you can't change.

If management get creative with the contract at the very least demand something in return (a meaningful profit share scheme like we used to have would be a good place to start).

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Old 12th Apr 2020, 04:18
  #70 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: Aug 2006
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Controlledrest,

You still don’t quite get it. It doesn’t matter what the HKAOA voting rules are, your conditions of service in Hong Kong can only be altered with your consent. There is no collective bargaining in Hong Kong.

What the HKAOA has historically tried to negotiate on behalf of its members are Agreements. There’s virtually none of these left.

What can be altered on the company’s whim is company policy. The failure of the HKAOA (both the leadership and the members) is allowing so many contractual agreements to become company policy. That’s the price we pay for putting an emphasis on a monetary figure with less weight on the benefits of an agreement.

So back to the original “battle” issue.
In the immortal words of Donald Rumsfeld. There’s known known’s, known unknown’s and unknown unknown’s.
After negotiations in 2017 a known known is that the company is more than happy to slash Hong Kong housing, provident fund and schooling if market forces and/or financial difficulties warrant it. They can do this with the stroke of a pen.
That being known, how responsible will it be for the TU leaderships to recommend taking a base (the threat carries no weight if the company knows it’s baseless) their members don’t want onto an unknown remuneration package? (The known unknown).

Last edited by Progress Wanchai; 12th Apr 2020 at 04:47.
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Old 12th Apr 2020, 10:11
  #71 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: Apr 2019
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Originally Posted by Progress Wanchai View Post
Controlledrest,

You still don’t quite get it. It doesn’t matter what the HKAOA voting rules are, your conditions of service in Hong Kong can only be altered with your consent. There is no collective bargaining in Hong Kong.

What the HKAOA has historically tried to negotiate on behalf of its members are Agreements. There’s virtually none of these left.

What can be altered on the company’s whim is company policy. The failure of the HKAOA (both the leadership and the members) is allowing so many contractual agreements to become company policy. That’s the price we pay for putting an emphasis on a monetary figure with less weight on the benefits of an agreement.

So back to the original “battle” issue.
In the immortal words of Donald Rumsfeld. There’s known known’s, known unknown’s and unknown unknown’s.
After negotiations in 2017 a known known is that the company is more than happy to slash Hong Kong housing, provident fund and schooling if market forces and/or financial difficulties warrant it. They can do this with the stroke of a pen.
That being known, how responsible will it be for the TU leaderships to recommend taking a base (the threat carries no weight if the company knows it’s baseless) their members don’t want onto an unknown remuneration package? (The known unknown).
Here’s a direct quote from the employment ordinance website re varying contracts

Under the Employment Ordinance, the five valid reasons for dismissal or variation of the terms of the employment contract are:
  1. the conduct of the employee;
  2. the capability or qualifications of the employee for performing his work;
  3. redundancy or other genuine operational requirements of the business;
  4. statutory requirements; or
  5. other substantial reasons

It depends whether one thinks grounding almost all of the fleet is a ”substantial” enough reason to vary a contract or that ” requirements of the business “ are such that the company could justify it.

I guess the only way to find out what it really means would be to run it by an employment lawyer or test it.

Last edited by AllWobbly; 12th Apr 2020 at 12:38.
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Old 12th Apr 2020, 12:22
  #72 (permalink)  
 
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Thanks AllWobbly,

The ordinance covers the loopholes in any contract. So it would be up to the courts to determine if our redundancy clause covers the present scenario, or if the ordinance supersedes it.
Another known unknown.

Which just further undermines Traf’s battle plan that the threat to retreat to the workers paradise of Hong Kong is a legitimate strategy.
Particularly from a poster who is prepared to state but not debate. My experience in IR issues are those who comment then retreat into the corners actually have little to offer but are simply fishing.

That being said, the ordinance puts management in quite the quandary, Can they revert to the ordinance when they can save significantly by simply amending company policy?

Last edited by Progress Wanchai; 12th Apr 2020 at 15:39.
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Old 12th Apr 2020, 15:02
  #73 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: Oct 2018
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"genuine operational requirements of the business"

Note it makes NO reference to the workers, their rights or contracts - only the Business. I'd expect the Court to take the word of the Management on this .... surprised??? Plus it'll take years to get a case heard
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Old 13th Apr 2020, 18:28
  #74 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: May 2011
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Originally Posted by Progress Wanchai View Post
A couple of reasons.

Bases actually save the company very little once the administration costs, local legislation entitlements and legal fees are taken into account. It’s also a rostering issue diluting the highly productive flying but also limiting the options for certain bases to be consistently rostered to 84 hours. In short they were more problem than they were worth.
In 2017 when the company was looking at saving money they had zero interest in opening up bases back to 2010 levels (around 40% v 20% in 2017). It was only when attrition was becoming a major factor in 2018/19 that the carrot of bases was partially reopened, as they now fixed a problem.
As neither retention nor recruitment is a factor in the current environment, bases have lost their usefulness. Short term thinking perhaps, but perfectly consistent with management’s short term tenures and short term KPI’s.

Also looking at savings from bases as opposed to Hong Kong is maximum return for least amount of effort/cost. The four based groups operate under some sort of collective bargaining. The company can negotiate with four entities and yet be negotiating with hundreds of pilots. In Hong Kong each pilot is on an individual contract between themselves and the company with no third party having a right to negotiate or adjust that contract.

Then there’s Hong Kong’s complete lack of modern labor laws. It’s pretty simple there. Either someone is employed completely in accordance with their contract, or they’re not employed. There’s no middle ground such as “stood down” etc.

Trav, I can only assume you weren’t involved in the domestic pilots dispute in Australia. The union there advised all pilots to resign believing the companies would blink with the cost of accepting the resignations outweighing the pay demands. As we know they stared straight ahead unflinching.
I’m not saying your tactic doesn’t have merit, I’m just not sure that the same level of solidarity exists in 2020 as it did in the 1980’s.
Don’t buy this, bases actually do save the company money, as we’ve found out in the last year, to stem the tide of departures back to home country.

Rosters also can be built EASILY to 84 hours, from personal experience. Last month over 90 hours, this month over 90 hours. Bases provide the Company with a robust fatigue management tool that allows rostering to take place (and it does now) in pursuit of the health and stability of the pilots.

Now whether or not there’ll be any flying left in a few months remains to be seen. If not, Hong Kong will be in the same position re. Pay percentage as AAOA and USAOA.
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Old 14th Apr 2020, 04:24
  #75 (permalink)  
 
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Plainpilot, that argument used to be valid, but no longer. For many reasons, the bases are now not cost effective overall. The stricter work/social rules constrain the company in many ways. With the erosion of the numbers on full housing in HK, the cost advantage overall has faded away. Further, the company cannot quickly change types to base cities due the single type issues. The company would rather have people on their new "commuter contract" option. They can then eliminate the expensive base administration, eliminate weeks of annual leave, eliminate housing for those who accept the package and increase efficiency. It's a win-win for the company on many levels. That unfortunately is why the only option left for the base pilots is to accept coming back to HK and taking their full entitlement, or transferring to a commuter contract. I suspect that with the current situation, they will not miss the opportunity to attack the bases. Ask yourself why the company is not flying ANY based crews for the past two months? The May roster will most likely demonstrate the same. It is to send a not so subtle message to the based pilots that they really aren't needed. Difficult situation.
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Old 14th Apr 2020, 13:07
  #76 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: Mar 2014
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Air Profit - I would suggest the reason they don’t need based crew right now and can create rosters without them, is mainly because they are flying less than 4% of the schedule, and not because they want to demonstrate that they don’t need them.

Once things improve (A distant hope at this moment), I’ll be confident that they will be using the based crew to their full capacity again.

Don’t get me wrong, I agree that they won’t miss this opportunity to try and attack conditions on the base, but bases ultimately do save them money whether that’s directly through salary and benefits, or indirectly from keeping more pilots from leaving.
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Old 15th Apr 2020, 12:39
  #77 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: Sep 2007
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Bases are dead in the long run. The current pretense at keeping or expanding bases is purely a medium term tactical move to stem high rates of resignation untill enough people have joined in HKG on local conditions of service and the last remaining expat contracts are over and done with.

The covid crisis has made that strategy redundant and reduce the company's worries about labour retention hugely.

The long term plan all along has been to have cheaper labour - all HKG based on local conditions, and any expat unwilling to do that would get a commuting option. The need for expats will constantly dwindle anyway in future.
Every other asian airline already figured that out 20 years ago but cx has taken a while to reinvent that wheel. As they do...
So take your base while and if you can. The option will disappear soon.
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Old 15th Apr 2020, 15:11
  #78 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: Oct 2018
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"all HKG based on local conditions" - this of course is the clear truth - why would any airline these days saddle itself with an expensive foreign labour force for a second longer than necessary. It's amazing CX have taken so long to do anything about it to be honest
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Old 15th Apr 2020, 16:41
  #79 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: Sep 2000
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Because to tempt the best pilots to live in the cesspit that is hong kong there's only one way - throw money at them.

Sure, plenty will turn up, but they'll be the dregs. To get good operators you need to tempt them away from their comfy houses in the west, clean air, and extended family.
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Old 15th Apr 2020, 17:33
  #80 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: Oct 2018
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Originally Posted by Flying Clog View Post
Because to tempt the best pilots to live in the cesspit that is hong kong there's only one way - throw money at them.

Sure, plenty will turn up, but they'll be the dregs. To get good operators you need to tempt them away from their comfy houses in the west, clean air, and extended family.

I never said they were interested in the "best pilots" - I doubt they could tell the difference anyway - they want cheap pilots - just as every other airline in the world wants to drive ALL its costs down and down and down.......
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