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Bristow North Sea

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Bristow North Sea

Old 22nd Jul 2000, 17:24
  #41 (permalink)  
Cyclic Hotline
Posts: n/a

Bristow jobs blow not as bad as first feared ABZ P&J

by Steve Sinclair

Bristow Helicopters announced yesterday that 44 jobs are to go through compulsory redundancies following its latest review of staffing and operations.

But the expected announcement was not as bad as had been feared.

Indications a month ago were that up to 80 jobs were at risk, split between Bristow's bases in Aberdeen and Scatsta, Shetland.

The smaller redundancy figure is due to Bristow negotiating a new engineering contract with Scotia Helicopters.

The bulk of the compulsory redundancies – 42 – will be in Aberdeen and the other two at Scatsta. The contract with Scotia involves on-line and heavy maintenance engineering work for up to 17 personnel, who will remain Bristow employees.

Bristow chief executive Keith Chanter said: "While we very much regret having to review our operations and staffing numbers, the new contract is the result of our determination to maximise the potential for our highly-skilled staff and specialist workforce and minimise job losses.

"We will not be able to finalise the details of the restructuring until the consul-tation process is completed next month, but we are encouraged by the constructive discussions that are continuing with individuals and the MSF."

MSF union convener at Bristow, Del Tarn, said: "The reduction from the original estimate of between 60 and 80 down to 44 is good news basically.

"We are still working fairly hard through our consultation process to reduce numbers further and will continue to do so, as the consultation process has about two weeks to run.

"We have certain proposals still to make, depending on working practices, as there is still a certain amount of re-structuring going on following the move of people to work for Scotia.

"We will be looking at areas where we might consider there are not enough personnel involved."

He confirmed that negotiations with Bristow had gone quite well and had been correct throughout.

He added: "Taking it in the context that we were originally told between 60 and 80 people might be made redundant and we are now down to 44 compulsory redundancies, it is not as bad as we had feared – but I am not leaping around.

"It is still 44 too many of us, friends and colleagues."

The losses will occur mainly in engineering and terminal services.

The Bristow review was prompted by a decrease in activity offshore and a 35% reduction in the company's North Sea operations in the last 12 months.

Anticipated future demand for helicopters amounts to 12 aircraft, compared with the current level of 17.

The company has also forecast that it will make a substantial cumulative loss on North Sea operations in the coming year.

Bristow employs 445 people in Aberdeen, 55 at Scatsta and 25 at Sumburgh. The MSF union represents 375 employees.

Bristow says the review and redundancies will not in any way compromise the company's absolute priority of continuing to ensure the highest standards of safety in its operations.
Old 10th Feb 2001, 16:56
  #42 (permalink)  
Posts: n/a
Arrow Bristow pilots too old

'Too old' helicopter pilots unfairly sacked
Feb 10, Press & Journal

by Alan Young

Five experienced helicopter pilots have won claims of unfair dismissal.

An employment tribunal has unanimously ruled that Bristow Helicopters should pay compensation to the pilots, who were made redundant solely on the basis of age after the firm lost major contracts in 1999.

James Senior, of Kintore; Robert McGregor, of Newtonhill; Julian Allen, of Banbury, Oxfordshire; Hans Holle, of Kintore; and Ian Parfitt, of Keig, near Alford, had all worked at the firm's Aberdeen base.

The tribunal panel dismissed the Bristow claim that the dismissals had been fair on the grounds of redundancy. It said no reasonable employer could have used age as the sole basis for redundancy. The amount of compensation is still to be decided.

The ruling followed hearings in October, November, and last month.

Last night, Captain Holle, 56, who worked for Bristow for more than 25 years, said he was delighted with the tribunal's decision.

"I'm certainly delighted after having to wait for such a long time," he said. "The selection criterion was age – but it wasn't really age. It was a cost-saving exercise as well."

Capt Holle, originally from Germany, said he was now retired.

Bristow is one of the largest helicopter companies in the world, operating 250 aircraft across the globe. It is mainly concerned with offering services to the offshore industry from its Aberdeen base.

The company has about 150 pilots, the tribunal heard, along with operational and administrative staff.

In November, 1998, staff were told that BP Exploration, one of Bristow's major clients, had decided not to renew its contract, due to expire at the end of July. It had been awarded to Bond Helicopters.

Contracts with Mobil and Amoco were also subsequently lost, leading to a need for redundancies.

The normal Bristow retirement age for pilots is 58 and the company decided that age would be the sole criterion in pilot redundancies.

In August, 1999, captains Senior, Allen and Holle were informed they were on the compulsory redundancy list. Bristow claimed Capt Parfitt had opted for voluntary redundancy and Capt McGregor had still to be approached.

The employment tribunal decided later that captains Parfitt and McGregor had been dismissed by Bristow. Seven compulsory redundancies were confirmed on September 9, 1999.

Capt Allen, 54, who was also in the RAF until joining Bristow in 1990 as a helicopter instructor, had said voluntary redundancy was not a realistic option for him. He had felt reasonably secure because of his age and the fact that Bristow had spent 10,000 relocating him to Aberdeen and retraining him. He described Bristow's approach as arrogant.

Capt Holle, who had worked for the firm since 1974, said he had not considered himself at risk of redundancy because of his years of service.

He said he had been unaware of the possibility of voluntary redundancy and felt that he had been treated unfairly.

Capt McGregor, 57, suffered a back injury in July, 1999, and was signed off work. He did not return to Bristow before his dismissal. He said he had had no option but to take voluntary redundancy but had told Bristow it was neither fair or reasonable.

Capt Parfitt, 57, also ex-RAF, had requested early retirement earlier in the year. But Bristow had treated it as a request for voluntary redundancy.

The tribunal ruled that the cases of captains McGregor and Parfitt were different from the other three.

"The absence of warning and consultation with captains McGregor and Parfitt and the failure by Bristow to consider alternative employment for them before they were dismissed was not in accordance with equity ... and rendered their dismissals unfair," it said.

It added: "No reasonable employer could have used age as the sole criterion and, accordingly, the dismissals of Capts Senior, Allen and Holle were also unfair."

The tribunal invited Bristow to agree compensation with its former employees.


Old 10th Feb 2001, 18:41
  #43 (permalink)  
leading edge
Posts: n/a
Red face

What an excellent ruling by the court, it is time that the arrogant management of the NS helicopter companies got what they deserve.

Lets hope that this is the beginning of a fight back by the workforce which will at last see the conditions and salaries where they should be. I know many of these guys and some have all contributed many years of their lives to Bristow. BALPA should be caitaliising on this decision and starting some unified action while things are on a roll.

What should the compesation be? What about the equivalent of the salaries they would have earned from the day they were dismissed until their normal retirement age at 58 plus some extra compensation for pain and suffering plus all legal costs.

A mere token award by the court would only serve to cheapen their decision. This case must act as a future deterrent so that Bristow and Scotia and the oil companies at last start to respect the pilot and engineer workforce and treat them with some respect and dignity.

Management, are you listening now??

Old 10th Feb 2001, 19:49
  #44 (permalink)  
Night Sun
Posts: n/a

"No reasonable employer could have used age as the sole basis for redundancy."

Sums them up nicely I feel.

Night Sun
Old 30th May 2001, 00:39
  #45 (permalink)  
Posts: n/a
Post Who's BALPA at Bristow and Scotia?

I've read some comments about what BALPA has to do to get decent deals in the superb position North Sea pilots are right now.

But who is BALPA at Bristow and Scotia?

Are they the two or three reps trying to make their best to pass the messages across without getting the positive response they need?

Are they the bunch of pilots that despite the situation keep selling their days off to get a few extra coins (and while in the planning room they keep complaining about the lack of action BALPA has shown)?

Or the ones who have decided to show the companies how seriously we are taking this particular chance by working to rule and withdrawing our goodwill until we obtain the deals we deserve (and we know we can get)?

May 2001... What are you prepared to do for BALPA (for us) as BALPA member?

Summer 2001... use it or lose it. Opportunities like this one won't be back in many years!
Old 30th May 2001, 01:20
  #46 (permalink)  
Posts: n/a

You are obviously still wet behind the ears 100%rpm. "Working to rule" is a concept which died with the mining industry. Above all it hurts our customers who are our life blood. If you think you can hold the oil industry to ransom you might as well pretend you are King Canute. Grow up and join the real world. Apart from anything else, what rules are you not already working to?

What BALPA CAN do is to responsibly put forward the facts to the oil industry in a constructive manner which will take our customers with us and not alienate them. The oil industry does not fully understand the problem. BALPA needs to go to UKOOA (the oil companies representative body) and put forward the facts as they are and the consequences of the skills shortage if nothing is done. BALPA needs to be seen to be on UKOOA's side if there is any hope of improving the situation.

If BALPA acts in a responsible and constructive way then we have a much better chance of improving the working conditions and consequently retaining and attracting a quality workforce (and a quality management).

Lets not fall back into the 1970's style of union vs employer conflicts - it never did anyone any good.
Old 30th May 2001, 16:21
  #47 (permalink)  
Variable Load
Posts: n/a


Spot on IMHO. There's a lot to be gained by a sensible approach to the issues that we and the industry face. The problems are obvious and should even be within the grasp of the aviation "experts" that the oil companies employ. BALPA should be leading that debate because it removes any commercial considerations, something Bristow and Scotia management won't be able to avoid.

Let's hope they do it and we all help them in the process.

Variable Load
Old 30th May 2001, 22:12
  #48 (permalink)  
Posts: n/a

Roundwego and Variable Load:

Thanks for the feedback.

Your ideas look interesting and indeed, different from what you hear most of the time. So let's go a bit deeper into those ones. I want to find out how we (the quality workforce) can help BALPA in this process. I don't like the idea of waiting for somebody elso to do something!

How can we help BALPA to put this case forward to UKOOA in a constructive manner?

What are we waiting to do so?

Does anybody else have another constructive idea?

Old 31st May 2001, 01:08
  #49 (permalink)  
Posts: n/a

Hello again 100%RPM.

Sorry if I got a bit heated with your first message on this subject but I have been around this game long enough to know what has done no good in the past.

Ref. your question "How can we help BALPA to put this case forward to UKOOA in a constructive manner?", it needs someone to do a bit of homework on demographic profiles, projected fixed wing recruitment rates, military manpower output etc. etc. over the next few years. If one assumes the North Sea flying rate is going to drop by 10% over the next 3 years (unless the oil industry can give a more educated guess) then it is should be reasonably easy to statistically demonstrate that there may not be enough pilots to service the North Sea oil industry. One can also report on the reducing cockpit experience levels which is likely to be the trend over the next few years. What does this do to the oil companies safety cases?

The constant drain of experience to the fixed wing world will also reduce the ability of the helicopter operators to promote quality people into management. (I am told from a reliable source that Scotia has already had difficulty filling certain management posts from within.) Many of the pilots who have left the North Sea were potential Chief Pilot material and above.

For the amount BALPA members pay in subscriptions, it would in my view be reasonable to expect the Association to provide a professionally researched and produced report for presentation to the oil industry.
Old 31st May 2001, 12:14
  #50 (permalink)  
Posts: n/a

Why do line pilots think that they should or can provide help and advice for the helicopter industry.

The solutions to problems of recruitment, staff retention and staff quality is a matter for the managers, if they are up to it, and the oil companys. They will find an answer if they have to!

Your problem is your pay, conditions, job security and quality of life.

Why not restrict your talents to these issues?
Old 31st May 2001, 22:19
  #51 (permalink)  
Posts: n/a

"Why do line pilots think that they should or can provide help and advice for the helicopter industry.?" Answer - because it is our bread and butter and I for one would like it to stay healthy until I retire - and that includes ensuring there is a quality workforce to do the job. I don't want to be killed because the guy next to me is a dunderhead or my management hasn't got the competence to run a half decent safety management system to help protect my and my colleagues' and my passengers ass.

I would have thought it would be fairly obvious that your para 3 IS the answer to para 2.

[This message has been edited by roundwego (edited 31 May 2001).]
Old 31st May 2001, 23:58
  #52 (permalink)  
Posts: n/a

So working to rule may be an outdated expression. The fact remains that it is still an effective tool in alerting the company to the fact that they have a problem. More importantly it alerts the oil companies to the problems as well. I'm sure that Scotia and Bristows have been trying to pour oil on the waters (no pun intended)and have told the oil companies that the problem isn't half as bad as it seems. We mustn't lose the impetus now. I for one will not be working any more voluntary days off lost and I urge anyone else in scotia/Bristows to do likewise.
Old 5th Jun 2001, 21:40
  #53 (permalink)  
Posts: n/a


I have been urging North Sea Pilots, both verbally and through this forum, for the past two years, to use the simple word 'NO' when asked to work days off. Seeing aircraft on the dispersal when they should be flying is the only way Management will show any desire to improve our terms and conditions.
Unfortunately we pilots, as a species, are very greedy as still we have those 'willing to help the company out'.
Look in the mirror and practice saying 'NO', after a while its easy.
Old 6th Jun 2001, 01:51
  #54 (permalink)  
Posts: n/a

I cannot believe roundwego and others comments here. I think that you will concede that British Airways have always done fairly well when the union has taken on the management. We are not taking on the Oil companies, that is a management problem. What we need to do is declare to our wonderful management that we are no longer willing to accept paltry pay rises, frozen allowances etc etc. God forbid I am not a militant but I am fed up with being taken for a ride. Of course working to rule will work. Taking our time out of immersion suits, refusing RRTs, refusing to work days off. I guarantee within days there would be crisis meetings between the oil companies and our management. Come on BALPA lets get some kind of united front.
Old 10th Jun 2001, 10:11
  #55 (permalink)  
Posts: n/a
Lightbulb 'Scotia & Bristow pilots' social meeting - agenda organization

The 'North Sea pilots' meeting in on its way.

Wednesday 13th
18:30 hrs
Thistle Hotel - Aberdeen
Expected attendance: 100+ pilots

Please let everybody know about the event.


What specific points would you like to disccuss there and then?

Who would you like to be the speakers? Make sure these guys come along!

Summer 2001: use it or lose it.

Happy flight

Old 10th Jun 2001, 15:48
  #56 (permalink)  
Posts: n/a

What is being proposed is a great idea, but please do not forget that there are 60+ Scotia/Bristow pilots south of the border who feel exactly the same as those of you up north. If you are to have a meeting to discuss the present situation, let us know what was said/decided etc. Thanks
Old 10th Jun 2001, 18:17
  #57 (permalink)  
Pat Gerard
Posts: n/a

What about those stuck in Scasta?
Can we say here what we expect so it can be passed on at the meeting ?
Old 10th Jun 2001, 19:25
  #58 (permalink)  
t4 rising
Posts: n/a

Is there any chance that the minutes of any meeting could be put up on rotorheads so that those that are unable to attend, like my self,can get the jist of what happend. would also be interested in the number of people in attendance
Old 11th Jun 2001, 03:27
  #59 (permalink)  
Posts: n/a

OK. I've got you points.

pitchlink: I'll let you know the outcome of this meeting. In the meantime:

When exactly could you get together in the South?
How could you organize that?
Where would you get together?

Answer all those questions, and then just do it (and let us know the results)!

Pat Gerard: Yes, speak up, and drop all your points here. And even if you're stuck at Scatsta, you can still phone up people who are in their days off at Aberdeen to make sure that they come along.

t4 rising: Yeah, the minute will be here. Now, what are your points for the meeting?... What do YOU want to say (or that somebody else say in your behalf) in the meeting?

Let's be proactive, not reactive!

Where would you like to be now, in the cockpit with your hands on the controls, or in the back, waiting to see if the guys in the front get it right?
Old 11th Jun 2001, 20:44
  #60 (permalink)  
t4 rising
Posts: n/a

The following questions are probably the ones that I would be most interested in getting answers to:-
1. What is the actual net salary difference between Scotia and Bristow pilots.
2. Has Scotia actually got a new roster structure ,what does it involve , and how well is it working.
3. Is the situation of Pilots running out of flying hours as bad as it appears.
4. How many Pilots have left or are thinking of leaving to the fixed wing world.
5. Is aircraft unservicability and lack of availability really becoming a problem.

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