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Babcock Mission Critical Services Australasia

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Babcock Mission Critical Services Australasia

Old 3rd Sep 2022, 10:09
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Angry Babcock Mission Critical Services Australasia

I’ve had enough.

Australian multi-engine helicopter pilots, do not come to Babcock even though there will be plenty of vacancies here soon as people start walking out the door.

There’s loads of jobs around at the moment and Babcock has gone from being the best place to work in Australia (when we were Australian Helicopters) to the worst.

We’ve had 4 managing directors in about three years and the latest one is as arrogant and out of touch as the one he replaced. There's another thread on here where people have commented on the qualities of the new guy. Where do we find them? How does the CEO keep stuffing this up?

After the pilots kept the show on the road during COVID by fillingl countless shifts at short notice the company rewards us by threatening us for not toeing the line and refusing to accept a terrible pay deal.

The new MD has written to us and said that if we don’t accept their latest insulting pay offer, they won’t pay us any back pay (because the EBA expired over six months ago) or they’ll throw out the in-principal agreements that our team have already spent a year negotiating.

They screwed the aircrew with their EBA for three years and now they’re trying to do the same to pilots and the engineers.

They’ve done nothing but drag their heels and stuff around the pilots (and the engineers with their agreement) for a year. They've already tried tried to get us to accept an offer that would have seen us frozen on the seniority ladder for four years and then asked us to work 60 hours of overtime for free every year before we’d ‘qualify’ for overtime payments.

Industrial action was only reluctantly taken after Babcock refused to discuss salary for six months and then came out with that insulting offer.

Thank you AFAP and our EBA team. You've done a fantastic job but the company have sunk to new lows to get their way.

They’ve now become experts at divide and conquer tactics. They started by getting the Chief Pilot to negotiate against his own pilots. How can we trust him to look out for our best interests in anything when he's trying to get us to accept a shit pay offer. He’s a good bloke that doesn’t seem to realise how the company have used him.

Now they’ve ordered the crewies to do the jobs that we were targeting in the industrial action. That’ll really make things comfortable in the crew room and the cockpit won’t it. Crewies being forced to do the jobs they aren’t paid to do and undermine the pilot sitting in the seat alongside of him. The manager who ordered this should hang their heads in shame. So should the very small minority who seem to relish being company minions. You’re embarrassing yourselves and your colleagues. You know who you are. Have some self respect.

When our competitors are offering annual pay increases of over 4.5% each for working on similar contracts why would you stay here or want to come here?

This is what happens when big multi-nationals buy good companies. They take hardworking and successful operators, put a fat, bloated headquarters over the top that sucks up 80 grand each time the appoint another HR lackey or IT nerd, and drain any goodwill of their hardworking operational employees that make them the money. They’ve cut all of the important departments like training and safety to the bone. There are not enough people to run the place properly any more. Do more with less. At some point it’ll break.

Babcock are not an aviation company. They ride the defence gravy train. Profit at all costs - even at the expense of the people that make you the money for your overseas shareholders.

It’ll be hard to make a profit when all your experience walks out the door and there’s not enough pilots or engineers left to do the job. Australian Helicopters was a great company. It's a crying shame to see what it's become.
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Old 3rd Sep 2022, 12:06
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Can’t find the popcorn icon but mines a family size bucket
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Old 3rd Sep 2022, 12:22
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BudgieFerguson - I am only an enthusiast, not a pilot, but I feel sad for you and your fellow operational personnel. You have obviously written this from the heart. It isn't the first time I have read about helicopter companies who become large (by gobbling up others) losing their way and having senior management who don't seem to have a good understanding of their business let alone maintaining the morale of their workforce. Wishing you all the best finding a new employer who values its workforce. I also would have thought it isn't good practice of a company to be getting their Chief Pilot involved in industrial relations matters. I would have thought that would be detrimental to maintaining a focus on safe operations? Perhaps we are being too naive?
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Old 3rd Sep 2022, 12:54
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This related thread started in 2016 has posts with varying perspectives on the management of the company since then: New MD for Babcock Aus
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Old 4th Sep 2022, 12:41
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Whist I can empathise with your predicament, spare a though for those of us who aren’t in the ME IFR space, who aren’t afforded an EBA, and don’t even rate a mention with AFAP.

Senior grade 1 instructors out there everyday teaching the next generation of pilots who aren’t even making $80k a year, and still giving up weekend days away from family.

cure the miniature violins
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Old 4th Sep 2022, 13:32
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Look on the bright side Chopperdavo, from the tone of the original poster, there may well be the opportunity for you to get your big break into MEIFR!
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Old 5th Sep 2022, 01:11
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Budgie I hear you Brother. I’m sure many of your workmates feel exactly the same even if not stating so. The 60 hours “free” OT is appalling. Only someone that has done the job understands getting home late often on your first day off after scooping broken people from the road and having to reschedule all your plans often with family. To not get paid for it, well where to start with that little idea.

Good luck, before swapping boats though know they are all the same model, I think Alan Joyce is their secret leader.

Chopperdavo you might not realise it but it’s the top paying jobs that drags the others rates up. Australian law gives everyone the right to an EBA and the AFAP will support. You will need all your co workers on board which is unlikely but the fault of the workforce not the employer.
Instructing has and always will be low payed. I would suggest up skilling and greener pastures if you do not like the conditions and pay. On the plus side you’d never have to teach straight and level again….




Last edited by SLFMS; 5th Sep 2022 at 01:23.
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Old 5th Sep 2022, 05:13
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Originally Posted by chopperdavo View Post
Whist I can empathise with your predicament, spare a though for those of us who aren’t in the ME IFR space, who aren’t afforded an EBA, and don’t even rate a mention with AFAP.

Senior grade 1 instructors out there everyday teaching the next generation of pilots who aren’t even making $80k a year, and still giving up weekend days away from family.

cure the miniature violins
I’m not sure what the purpose of this post is. Is it to point out that industry wide pay and conditions are unacceptable? Welcome to the aviation industry.

I think SLFMS is on the money. If you want an EA, get together with your colleagues and negotiate one. Despite your cynicism, the AFAP will help you, assuming you’re a member. Unfortunately it’s been my observation that pilots are our own worst enemies and are happy to complain about their pay and conditions but not to work collectively with their colleagues to improve them.

Budgie - I feel for you and hope you’re successful in winning a fair EBA. Companies sometimes forget who and what makes them their money.
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Old 5th Sep 2022, 10:02
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Originally Posted by BudgieFerguson View Post
I’ve had enough.

Australian multi-engine helicopter pilots, do not come to Babcock even though there will be plenty of vacancies here soon as people start walking out the door.

There’s loads of jobs around at the moment and Babcock has gone from being the best place to work in Australia (when we were Australian Helicopters) to the worst.

We’ve had 4 managing directors in about three years and the latest one is as arrogant and out of touch as the one he replaced. There's another thread on here where people have commented on the qualities of the new guy. Where do we find them? How does the CEO keep stuffing this up?

After the pilots kept the show on the road during COVID by fillingl countless shifts at short notice the company rewards us by threatening us for not toeing the line and refusing to accept a terrible pay deal.

The new MD has written to us and said that if we don’t accept their latest insulting pay offer, they won’t pay us any back pay (because the EBA expired over six months ago) or they’ll throw out the in-principal agreements that our team have already spent a year negotiating.

They screwed the aircrew with their EBA for three years and now they’re trying to do the same to pilots and the engineers.

They’ve done nothing but drag their heels and stuff around the pilots (and the engineers with their agreement) for a year. They've already tried tried to get us to accept an offer that would have seen us frozen on the seniority ladder for four years and then asked us to work 60 hours of overtime for free every year before we’d ‘qualify’ for overtime payments.

Industrial action was only reluctantly taken after Babcock refused to discuss salary for six months and then came out with that insulting offer.

Thank you AFAP and our EBA team. You've done a fantastic job but the company have sunk to new lows to get their way.

They’ve now become experts at divide and conquer tactics. They started by getting the Chief Pilot to negotiate against his own pilots. How can we trust him to look out for our best interests in anything when he's trying to get us to accept a shit pay offer. He’s a good bloke that doesn’t seem to realise how the company have used him.

Now they’ve ordered the crewies to do the jobs that we were targeting in the industrial action. That’ll really make things comfortable in the crew room and the cockpit won’t it. Crewies being forced to do the jobs they aren’t paid to do and undermine the pilot sitting in the seat alongside of him. The manager who ordered this should hang their heads in shame. So should the very small minority who seem to relish being company minions. You’re embarrassing yourselves and your colleagues. You know who you are. Have some self respect.

When our competitors are offering annual pay increases of over 4.5% each for working on similar contracts why would you stay here or want to come here?

This is what happens when big multi-nationals buy good companies. They take hardworking and successful operators, put a fat, bloated headquarters over the top that sucks up 80 grand each time the appoint another HR lackey or IT nerd, and drain any goodwill of their hardworking operational employees that make them the money. They’ve cut all of the important departments like training and safety to the bone. There are not enough people to run the place properly any more. Do more with less. At some point it’ll break.

Babcock are not an aviation company. They ride the defence gravy train. Profit at all costs - even at the expense of the people that make you the money for your overseas shareholders.

It’ll be hard to make a profit when all your experience walks out the door and there’s not enough pilots or engineers left to do the job. Australian Helicopters was a great company. It's a crying shame to see what it's become.

You just have to look at the long list of MEIR jobs that keep getting advertised . They want more and more for nothing.
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Old 6th Sep 2022, 08:22
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Budgie, Australian Helicopters wasn't the golden-haired boy you make them out to be. At least on Horn Island. They were the forgotten cousins, very rarely did a trainer go up there (who wants to stay in the Resort or the Wongai??? ) and when he did, he didn't do it over the hand-over days of Monday and Tuesday. I was on the alternate 2-week shift that saw Ando once in 8 months. We wanted to be trained on RNAV approaches (this was in 2008) but "didn't have the time, you don't need it", so when the Wx was below mins for the Horn NDB, we stayed on the ground, couldn't go anywhere, whereas with the RNAV training we could fly approaches to the fuel dump at York and get back into Horn.

Accommodation was poor, and they never had enough to cover us all - every shift, I was plonked in the Wongai's rubbish little room, not even a proper chair to sit in, wifi was $10 for half an hour and so on. The houses had 3 bedrooms, but "the award" limited it to 2 people in each house.

The transit up there took from a 6am pickup for the 2-hour drive to BNE, wait, hop the jet to Cairns, wait, hop the Q400 to Horn, and straight away at 5pm you are on the night shift, hoping like crazy there isn't a callout as the fatigue from sitting around for 11 hours sets in.

And the crewroom coffee at the hangar was mud.......

Perhaps the situation has improved with time, but it sounds like Babcock are Babcocking it up.
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Old 7th Sep 2022, 03:38
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AustHeli wasn’t Robinson Crusoe with the way they treated their pilots in Horn Island and from what I hear not much has changed with any of the companies that are still there. That includes Babcock. What I was talking about was a time when the pilots went the extra mile for the company with full confidence that they would be looked after by their managers and the company in return. That is how I remember it. Every company has its issues and AH wasn't perfect but everyone tried to make the company better because it made it a better place to work. Now it’s just a faceless international business whose focus is on engineering and defense, and not being the best helicopter company it can be.

helispotter I don’t think anyone who is serious about safety and good culture thinks that getting the chief pilot to negotiate against his pilots is a good idea. The last time Babcock tried this the chief pilot was sacked and the new EBA got up a couple of weeks later. I might be wrong but wasn’t there a CHC chief pilot in recent history that refused to get involved in the industrial side of things? Ours seems to be working very hard to help the company get around our industrial actions. There’s other senior managers who could be doing that instead of him. I think that a lot of people protested to head office that it was a bad idea at the time but it’s what I mean when I say Babcock isn’t an aviation company and the head office management don’t care about morale at the coalface or how it affects our work. If they did they wouldn’t be forcing the crewies to work against us either. Not the crewies fault. They’re caught between a rock and a hard place.

chopperdavo – No violins. Hang in there buddy and keep building your hours and qualifications. It's a long road but we all started somewhere. Fair pay in one part of the industry will help every pilot in the industry.

SLFMS you’re right. Lots of my colleagues feel the same but I guess some people just don’t ever want to make waves. Maybe they're they’re just scared. The new head honcho emailed everyone the other day with a typical management letter full of cliches and bullshit. One of our pilots clicked on reply all and wrote a very sensible but prickly email back to him that explained why we don’t trust him or the company. It was brilliant. The MD has only been here since lunchtime and wants us to just forget about how the company has treated us. Typical corporate showbag, expensive, looks flash from the outside but really just full of shit and there'll be a new one next year.

We talk to our mates in other companies about how their EBA negotiations are going and everyone can look up the current EBA’s on the fairwork website. We know that pilots in other companies doing the same work are getting fair pay rises. People are already starting to apply for all the jobs going around the place and it’s not like there’s a bunch of unemployed 139 pilots with the right experience and qualifications to just replace them when they go. It's so short sighted.

The stink of this EBA negotiation is that Babcock say they can’t afford to give pilots a pay increase that stops our wages going backwards due to inflation because their costs have gone up but they still want to skim off the same amount of cream from the top. That isn't fair and certainly not a way to show that you value your employees. They don't value their employees! They should be embarrassed after we kept the company going during COVID. They have repeatedly told us that this is all about protecting profit margins for investors. They’re not even hiding it.

Profits for overseas investors instead of paying Australian pilots a fair wage .
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Old 7th Sep 2022, 04:24
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Originally Posted by Ascend Charlie View Post

Accommodation was poor, and they never had enough to cover us all - every shift, I was plonked in the Wongai's rubbish little room, not even a proper chair to sit in, wifi was $10 for half an hour and so on. The houses had 3 bedrooms, but "the award" limited it to 2 people in each house.
ha ha, the Wongai. Horn Island’s finest.

I think the accommodation is still well below average on Horn Island.
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Old 7th Sep 2022, 05:43
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Sounds like Babcock is giving their employees the QANTAS experience .

I am truly saddened to see Qantas dragged through the mud. All because of the short-sightedness of someone desperately trying to balance the chequebook, maintain a share price and, consequently, their bonus scheme. - Captain David Evans
Reading the comments, many of the commentators on the SMH story would be very sympathetic to Budgie and his/her fellow pilots.
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Old 7th Sep 2022, 07:11
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I think the accommodation is still well below average on Horn Island
Actually sounds five star compared to a photo I recall seeing posted on these hallowed pages some years ago, alleged accommodation was a galvanised iron building (term used advisingly), dirt floor, with a bare mattress (could have been washing day) on said floor.
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Old 14th Sep 2022, 06:54
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They started by getting the Chief Pilot to negotiate against his own pilots. How can we trust him to look out for our best interests in anything when he's trying to get us to accept a shit pay offer. He’s a good bloke that doesn’t seem to realise how the company have used him.
Surely CASA wouldn't allow the Chief Pilot to be involved in any industrial negotiations. How can the pilot group have confidence in the flight operation's head if he is negotiating against them?

Seems Babcock isn't really into aviation, they dabbled and the profit margins aren't as good as defence contracts and now the pilots are feeling the pinch. They are selling up their aviation operations around the world, only a matter of time before another operator takes the reins in Aust.
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Old 17th Sep 2022, 23:32
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Originally Posted by zoomcage View Post
Surely CASA wouldn't allow the Chief Pilot to be involved in any industrial negotiations. How can the pilot group have confidence in the flight operation's head if he is negotiating against them?

Seems Babcock isn't really into aviation, they dabbled and the profit margins aren't as good as defence contracts and now the pilots are feeling the pinch. They are selling up their aviation operations around the world, only a matter of time before another operator takes the reins in Aust.
When “Chief Pilots” were replaced with “Manager Of Flight Operations”, in Australia, “negotiating against the pilots” became one of the core tasks. Standing up for/looking out for the pilots or saying “no” to the company were duties that have been removed from the role.
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Old 18th Sep 2022, 14:02
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This thread pretty much sums this industry up. Unless you're one of the lucky few who gets those golden career steps, you'll probably end up in this situation at some point. All I can say to any new aspiring pilot, is make sure you have some other way to earn a living that you can flip to, so if you ever find yourself in this situation, you can retreat, walk away and bypass the misery.

Last edited by Sir Korsky; 18th Sep 2022 at 16:00.
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Old 19th Sep 2022, 04:05
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Originally Posted by Sir Korsky View Post
This thread pretty much sums this industry up. Unless you're one of the lucky few who gets those golden career steps, you'll probably end up in this situation at some point. All I can say to any new aspiring pilot, is make sure you have some other way to earn a living that you can flip to, so if you ever find yourself in this situation, you can retreat, walk away and bypass the misery.
Yeah, it can be miserable if you can't walk away for some reason (family, financial reasons) or if the company are just being dicks and forgetting that profit at costs might have the opposite effect in the long term and cost them their pilots.

Originally Posted by Twist & Shout View Post
When “Chief Pilots” were replaced with “Manager Of Flight Operations”, in Australia, “negotiating against the pilots” became one of the core tasks. Standing up for/looking out for the pilots or saying “no” to the company were duties that have been removed from the role.
Why don't CPs just say no? Surely they can make a safety case to demonstrate what a spectacularly bad idea it is to have them working directly against those they're supposed to be building trust with. I'm genuinely surprised that any chief pilot worth their salt would agree to it.

Originally Posted by zoomcage View Post
Surely CASA wouldn't allow the Chief Pilot to be involved in any industrial negotiations. How can the pilot group have confidence in the flight operation's head if he is negotiating against them?

Seems Babcock isn't really into aviation, they dabbled and the profit margins aren't as good as defence contracts and now the pilots are feeling the pinch. They are selling up their aviation operations around the world, only a matter of time before another operator takes the reins in Aust.
CASA wouldn't give a shit unfortunately.

It will be interesting to see what happens with Babcock because they are certainly not an aviation company. Going great guns (pun intended) in the defence world. I wonder if the industrial action being taken by the pilots will impact on any of their other business? You wouldn't think it would look good if you are bidding for defence work to have a major component of your workforce on work bans.
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Old 18th Oct 2022, 02:36
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Chief Pilot resigns

The exodus has begun starting with the Chief Pilot. Turned up to work this week to find an email from him saying he had resigned.

Well done Babcock!

You've pitted the best chief pilot we've ever had against his workforce and now he's resigned because the company has made it impossible for him to continue. We were all worried this would happen and some even told the head office directly that it was a stupid idea. Hate to say we told you so but we told you so.

I'm sure the 4th MD in 3 years will fix things. Oh wait. Things have gotten worse under his leadership. No one has seen him since he started. Who in Babcock is choosing these managing directors?
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Old 27th Oct 2022, 04:33
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Originally Posted by BudgieFerguson View Post
I'm sure the 4th MD in 3 years will fix things.
You mean this guy? EXPLORING, CREATING AND PUSHING THE BOUNDARIES OF THE UNKNOWN

Newington sounds like he's trying to cast himself as some sort of aviation visionary but helicopter HUDs have been around for decades and there is a reason why they're not being used in civil helicopter operations. It's because for the most part, they're not needed. Unlike the military, EMS pilots don't go flogging around at 50 ft on NVGs in formation in low visibility environments.

With a career spanning 15 years in the legal, defence, aviation and critical services industries in Australia and the UK, and working with the British Army as well as defence-aligned companies, Newington brings to Babcock a strong innovation vision and the leadership to deliver it


He's fitted a lot in 15 years apparently Jack of all trades.

When I was reading it I was thinking that its sounds like he wrote it himself for his LinkedIn profile and then I saw that the byline of the article says "written by Babcock Australasia".

Interesting the Babcock is paying Australian Aviation to run advertorials for them. Who are they trying to market to?

Sort of compromises Australian Aviation a bit doesn't it? It was only a few months ago they were reporting about Rex pilots taking industrial action but nothing at all about the shit fight that's going on a Babcock with their engineers and pilots all taking industrial action at the moment. I guess AA aren't really interested in aviation news, just $$$$.


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