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-   -   German Pilot Union has an open ear (https://www.pprune.org/middle-east/574310-german-pilot-union-has-open-ear.html)

in freedom 5th Feb 2016 20:20

German Pilot Union has an open ear
Just when I thought that nobody cared about the issues we discuss here it seems that I have found the platform many of us have been looking for. I have shared my story and evidence with the German Pilot Union "Vereinigung Cockpit". They have an open ear for such complaints and understand the situation very well. I think this could be a game changer and I encourage you to contact them. They are offering secure and confidential reporting for issues at airlines where legal relief is not available. You can also send them evidence or volunteer as a witness with whatever level of anonymity you are comfortable with. They will only use what you agree to and will not share your identity. Vereinigung Cockpit e.V. :*Report

Vereinigung Cockpit is the association of airline pilots and flight engineers in Germany. Today, it has approximately 9600 cockpit crew members from all German airlines (even during their training) as well as commercial helicopter pilots. The fundamental objectives of VC are to contribute to the welfare of civil aviation as well as to ensure and pursue the interests of its members regarding professional and collective bargaining policies. Among other things, they achieve this by influencing legislation and informing the public about the professional, sociopolitical and economic situation of cockpit crews. They are very reasonable people but also pack a punch. In the past 2 years they have gone on 13 strikes against Lufthansa and been all over the media.


Talparc 6th Feb 2016 12:46

Just registered with pprune after reading for years of shocking facts of the fading TOC.
Finally we get an authority to listen to all our problems here in the pit.
Maybe we can get thinks moving to the better side from here.
Thanks to Infreedom!

in freedom 8th Feb 2016 18:02

if you want change...
To those of you who enjoyed reading the WSJ article last year while sitting in their comfy deck chairs and munching the tasty popcorn: Please understand that change is not going to come your way by itself. These things take hard work. If you want to help Emirates find the right direction you will have to make them bow to public opinion. If they can spend money on showering Jennifer Aniston they can also spend money on well rested pilots. The platform offered to you in this thread is a big gun but it needs your ammunition.

no input = no output = no change

The platform itself is safe. Emailing from inside the UAE is not. I think most of you spend more time outside Dubai anyway. Especially if you have already chosen retirement which seems to be a trend this year.

harry the cod 8th Feb 2016 18:24

in freedom

Your wunderbar union may be a bit busy over the next few months dealing with issues closer to home. Air Berlin pilots are facing a pay cut of around 10% with a possible freeze for 2017 too. 'No comment' was the unions response when pushed by the press as to why they weren't doing more to protect 'their' pilots income and livelihood.

If they've had to undertake 13 strikes in 2 years, I fail to see how effective they're going to be when they can't even make it work on home turf....and that's with the flag carrier too!


White none please 9th Feb 2016 06:54

You have a better idea Harry?

harry the cod 9th Feb 2016 07:03

Yes. Use our own confidential reporting system would be a start. Why anyone would send off information about their current employer without first trying all available means internally is beyond me, regardless of being in the ME.

If the Company was inundated with hundreds of these reports, it might make management sit up and take note. The fact that the numbers received are probably minute reflects on the general apathy amongst most pilots. The usual suspects will retort that the system can't be trusted but I doubt for one minute they've even used it.


glofish 9th Feb 2016 07:14

Not a very good idea, harry.

I have submitted a confidential report once and have subsequently been contacted by the company to explain.

This is not a rant!

It is to show, that there is no such thing as confidentiality in this region. Therefore i have to assume, that there is no consequence to anything that does not please the company.

Maybe i am too pessimistic, but experience marks.

Tiotes massive head 9th Feb 2016 07:39

A confidential isn't an anonymous report. It just means they won't go round showing your colleagues what you said.

harry the cod 9th Feb 2016 07:46


I'm going to call you on that claim. The only way it's ever likely to have happened is if the report itself contained names of individuals involved in the event/concern. Then you may well have got a call to provide further information if your name was actually referred to in the report.

However, I can assure you 100% that any report submitted is treated with utmost confidentiality with only 1 facilitator (Capt RC on B777) having access to the reporters details. Only the de identified report itself goes to Flight Safety and is then investigated. At no time will any other party have access to your personal details. Unless other reports have also been submitted for the same event, for example an ASR, then it remains confidential throughout! If you submit a Confidential Safety Report, you, the reporter, will only be providing your details to one individual within this Company. It remains with him and nobody else. He's not part of the management team.

So, with all due respect, making that claim as you do merely discredits the process. I've used it before and wish more people did. It may not have got the immediate results I desired, but it remained confidential throughout, that I can assure you!


in freedom 9th Feb 2016 07:49

predictable reactions

thanks for weighing in. I agree that in an ideal world there would be many other ways to change the current issues. But you have been there long enough to understand the realities of the place. The reactions are very predictable.

I take the check-in time scam as an example. It was reported to all affected agencies including the GCAA. Anyone could read it in the WSJ. But the company and the government deliberately chose to continue as before - only trying to hide the truth a little more. Sure, there is a business case. If only a single-digit percentage of flights were affected by proper recording of actual check-in that would be hundreds of millions in revenue lost. And that case is as black and white as it gets. No grey area for opinions or misunderstandings.

The company's reaction to the more personal issues of rest patterns, leave, sickness and off days have also been very clear for everybody to see.

So the only way that the company will put the pilots' wellbeing above revenue will be if it affects revenue. If the travelling public in Europe and the US and the political decision makers understand that the shiny sky bar has dead tired drivers then EK may have to start investing in your smiles instead of Jennifer's.

I don't know a better organization than the battle-hardened colleagues of Vereinigung Cockpit to bring on that fight. Writing to management sure as hell didn't help in my case. Believe me I tried.

Greetings from Germany

harry the cod 9th Feb 2016 08:11

in freedom

I don't disagree with your points for one minute. The suggestion you've made is one out of frustration due to lack of progress and any avenue in which concerns can be highlighted is welcome. I just doubt that a German pilots union will have much sympathy for our 'plight'. Volvo door to door, no driving our own car, no parking, no walking through a terminal to report, no evidence that we're required to report -83. What does the OMA say?

Let's stick with this as an example. The often quoted example of report times on these forums is a valid one. However, why does everyone insist on having to brief the crew 83 minutes before? Where is that written? How is it legal to be undertaking any duty required by the Company when 'not on duty'? If I have an 'official' report time around 0610 with the previous day being OFF, by having to brief the crew at 0547 would be violating that D/O. I simply refuse to do it. There are a minority of Captains who also refuse to and request through the FDM separate transport from the CC.

This would be an example of where the Confidential Reporting system could be used. If only 40 pilots out of the 4000 wrote a report and highlighted this discrepancy, what would be the Companies response? At least you'd have it in writing.

As I said before, almost everyone accepts it because....almost everyone accepts it! There's apathy in not using the system to our advantage. The CSR would be a great tool to help in this example.


in freedom 9th Feb 2016 08:44


I agree with you that it's a shame how 4,000 pilots just follow a process that is clearly outside the books. Yes, CSRs would be great. But isn't their ultimate purpose to make the company and regulatory authority aware of an issue without endangering the individual? In the case of the check-in there is no doubt about their awareness. They do it on purpose.

As for the Pilot Union's empathy I can assure you that it's there. I have talked to them in person about my case and the general issues. They have also been contacted by other German colleagues. I say give it a try.

BigGeordie 9th Feb 2016 09:12

I have used the Confidential Reporting System and believe in it 100%. I would be very happy to use it again. However, I have also sent an e-mail to the safety department which I (foolishly) believed would be confidential. A couple of days later I got hauled into the office (by Ed) because AAR had not liked the tone of my correspondence. It had not been addressed to him, or copied to anybody outside the safety department.

There are reporting systems in place but be very careful which one you use.

Talparc 9th Feb 2016 10:32

It looks like that the reporting system is not a very efficent tool.
In our case we need to bring all the issues to a higher authority in order to get things addressed and eventually corrected.
The German Pilot Union was kind enough to give those problems a bigger forum and will bring our cases and problems to other GCAAs.
Problems consist of:
violation of Duty and Check in Times
non punitive reporting system but still pilots get warnings for reporting incidents
Crew Factor of 7 vs 11 for other regulated Long Haul Carriers
Pilots beeing punished and further beeing pushed into sickness
Sickdays beeing punished with illegal warnings
Pilots threatened for what ever decision they take
Not granting leave according contract
overtime stolen from crew
Paying only sticktime
creating a unhealthy environment and further reducing safety margins
reducing air safety with all these behaviour

If you wana go on with all this bs go ahead and stopp complaining here
or just take the initiative and try to bring our issues to a higher level and see what can be achieved.

glofish 9th Feb 2016 10:32


I honor your effort and belief in the system.

However, consider this:

Many events that would be suited for confidential reporting have to be reported via ASR as well, according to our books, or they will be detected through the safety team..
Now there is a choice, as ASRs or "stars" on the FR are not confidential at EK!
They are elsewhere and for a good reason, namely to enhance safety!!
If you report stuff like that confidentially, you get called because you can be identified.
This basically devalues the CRs at EK.

If a CR is submitted, quite often persons can be identified simply by the nature of the CR, even if no direct names were mentioned.
As you admit yourself, in such cases you or the other person can be de-identified and called.
This devalues the CRs again.

Confidential reports are not reduced to the CRS within EK. There is another channel going to the GCAA.
Try that channel and see how fast a copy lands in the bounty castle for confirmation. Sure enough without names, but as clear as Vodka to enable identifying the origin.

Again, i trust you mean well and you might even believe in it.
I definitely do not.

falconeasydriver 9th Feb 2016 10:55

Harry, whilst I am sure you have faith in the CR system at EK, in my time I did not, it was another piece of the puzzle that ensured I resigned.
Without going into specifics, somehow information included only in the CR I filed found its way onto the desk of the individual who caused the problem. Needless to say this individual is in possession of the correct passport and is also a person that was able to influence various decision makers.
The upshot of all of this was less than ideal for me, and I was at that point living on borrowed time as far as EK is concerned.
Harry when I spoke to the individual who runs the CR programme I had complete faith that he was above reproach, he did however concede that there is nothing he could do should someone wish to go after a person or persons who embarrassed the wrong decision maker.

notapilot15 9th Feb 2016 11:19


Your opening jab at Air Berlin suggests you don't like a bit about this whole thing.

Like I said unless ICAO adds "Employee Representation" section to USOAP Safety Audits, audits and ratings are irrelevant.

Bluntly put your suggestion about internal reporting is like saying a domestic violence victim should report to spouse to resolve issues. Never works.

Employees thinking about complaining outside the regulatory regime speaks volumes, needs lot of retrospection.

Talparc 9th Feb 2016 12:00


I totally agree what you say.

More and more colleges are now in touch with ICAO and filled a formal complaint exactly on these issues.

This could create further discussion about installing a safety rating for all other airlines.

Times will be tougher for airlines violating flight safety and pushing their Pilots over the limits.

Even the public is nowadays more sensitive to those issues than just believing in shiny advertising billboards.

Talparc 9th Feb 2016 13:06

Employees thinking about complaining outside the regulatory regime speaks volumes, needs lot of retrospection

Totally right but how can you expect a regulatory regime to be independent if the CEO of this authority at the same time is CEO of the airline to be regulated?


harry the cod 9th Feb 2016 13:55


I don't think your analogy is a valid one but either way, we will agree to disagree on this. Three points I would like to raise however in relation to some other posts;

Firstly, the Confidential Reporting System in EK does not replace the ASR system. It's role is unique and completely separate to the mandated Air Safety Reports.

Secondly, the GCAA system, although claimed to be confidential, has it's limitations. Further more, I don't know who at the GCAA receives it. At least in EK, we do. That at least brings accountability on the part of the facilitator charged with handling the reports and that of the Company. We are required to have such a system in place and it has to be robust and workable. I believe it is. Which leads me to the last point.

falconeasydriver has had a negative experience of the system. As Big Geordie has stated, we need to be careful what reports we use and what we include in them. I don't disagree that certain individuals could make life an issue which is why I'd recommend contacting the CSR facilitator before hand to discuss available options if the report is of a sensitive nature. That advice would be the same in any airline around the World, wouldn't it?

However, the issues that we're discussing on this thread are not of an individual nature but relate to safety concerns overall. It is the trend within the Company and it's culture that needs addressing and it's these very issues that the CSR system is designed for. Whether the Company chooses to take action or ignore these issues is for them to decide. We, however, must still pass on this information to ensure they're accountable for their actions, not us held accountable for inaction or failure to report.

As for your comment Talparc about my opinion of the German union, my thoughts are that they have other issues closer to home that they should, and probably will, concentrate on. If people in EK wish to contact them and use it as an avenue to voice their concerns, so be it. I've always believed that you should never air your dirty laundry in public or with unknown entities unless you have exhausted all other internal possibilities first. And for the record, and the umpteenth time, our Chairman IS NOT the Chairman of the GCAA. He's chairman of the CAA which are the owners of Dubai airport, not the regulatory authority of the airline.

Still, Im not naive enough to believe that the actual chairman of the GCAA is not connected in some way or another with him and is thus 'influenced' with rules and protocols that are applied to EK and others!


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