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Contractual Obligations

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Contractual Obligations

Old 18th Dec 2003, 21:42
  #21 (permalink)  
 
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I agree with your sentiments Roland. Unfortunately I have also to agree with Caribs. Its a function of the new check and balance sheet society we live in where the bottom line is always seen as far more important than the good old fashioned values of decency, compassion, respect for ones fellow workers etc. Its now got to the stage where one is thought of as a fool if you miss the opportunity to stab your mate in the back so as to further your own career.

The only time when the company will mention the word "loyalty" is when they are trying to appeal to you not to leave until they want to terminate you, or they want you to go 3 hours into discretion. In short, when they are appealing to the qualities that most of us still hold dear and they ridicule and abuse.

I have reluctantly come to the conclusion that you can't beat city hall (I had a bloody good try) and will shortly be leaving aviation for a far less well paid but far more satisfying and stress free career where I can actually look forward to going to work again.

Sad times.

Tony _EM, A very eloquent post. The situation that you endured is almost identical to my story 8000 miles away from you. Its a global problem but noones listening, and they wont until 'planes start falling out of the sky. By then, as you correctly state, it will be both too late and irreversable.
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Old 18th Dec 2003, 22:43
  #22 (permalink)  
 
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Well, truth be told, I never really complained about the low wages, promised bonuses that were withheld and sensible cost cutting measures, since I wanted my company to do well. Working for an uncompetitive company does not hold much security for an employee with a family to support.

The real objections and concern arose from the management style which was incompetent at best, criminally negligent at worst.

To explain better, I will recount a period of time in the history of our ops dept where we had no manager or even duty controller in charge. In one of the many re-shuffles in the company just prior to being sold off, we were supposed to be under the supervision of the check-in duty controllers of both T2 and T3, yet because of squabbling between these two groups, we just got ignored. This left us to govern ourselves for 6 months. In that time period, we had the lowest sick leave, the slickest leave coverage, the least amount of delays, the least amount of errors and the best team work I had ever seen, since we knew we were onto a good thing. The sense of group-responsibility and subsequent support within the team made it truly enjoyable to go to work.

When one of the notoriously incompetent managers was yet again shuffled out of the sh!te that he created in another department, our 'hole' was identified as a harmless place to stick him, and thus began our decline again. He saw his first task as establishing discipline by punishing nearly the whole department for various cr@p, a la Capt soble (Band of Bros). In a matter of weeks he had us turning against each other in order to "get the wind out of our sails" (his words).

This isn't about the low wages or lack of prestige of our jobs. This is about sh!tty management justifying their jobs, cr@pping on those below for personal gain and making themselves out to be better than they are by purging their departments of anyone they percieve as better than them. Nothing new, since it seems to be happing at the highest levels of government all the way down to line management of most companies in this country.

On a side note, I began posting here a few weeks ago, mainly banging the same drum and expecting to get flamed to hell. So it is pleasantly surprising that my posts have been treated with much more respect and sensitivity than I ever expected. I'd just like to say thank you for not jumping to the conclusion that I am just another disgruntled ex-employee. While I have little respect for those running the industry right now, it is my love of aviation and deep concern for its future that motivates me. That and the chance that some may learn from what I have seen and experienced.

The problem here is not declining wages, but the erosion of standards through utterly dire management and an almost total lack of oversight that is allowing regulations to be routinely ignored. What you see in the posts above are the symptoms not the roots of the problem itself. What the industry desperately needs are trained managers that put their workforce above their promotion, who will stick up for their department and the regulations and standards they were untrusted to uphold and have the guts to say enough when the bean counters are asking for the impossible. What we've got are yes-men with less integrity than thives who would sell their staff to the devil in order to get that pat on the back.

If we started now by intensive training and regulations that demanded proven qualifications, I reckon it would take 5 years before a new generation of competent managers would start to turn the corner in this country. The snowball is gathering pace and heading downhill all the way. In the meantime, we get David Brent to make us all laugh at the irony.
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Old 18th Dec 2003, 23:11
  #23 (permalink)  
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Believe me when I say that heels dug into the sand (local analogy) is not a problem from which I suffer. Personally, I have actively sought a company whose bean counters are doing a good job of ensuring its survival, and therefore my ongoing wage. This is not an issue of the 'bean counters at my airline are worse than the bean counters at yours'. It's endemic.

Maybe it's the old chestnut of supply and demand that really needs to be addressed. When was the last time that you told a wannabe that this career, and more generally this industry, in which so many of us have strived to gain a foothold is sucking us dry. Have you pointed out to any aspirants that the job that they are likely to get as an FO next week will be on the same net terms as the Command job that they will have three years hence. More responsibility, more experience, more chance of getting sued, screwed or abused but no better reward, other than the personal satisfaction of a job well done. Hard to buy food with that though.

We romanticise our living. I'm guilty of same myself. We even downplay our own roles. Before all passengers were terrorists, how many times did you hear someone answer the time honoured question "So what do you guys do up here?" with a self-demeaning quip? Do yourself a favour. No, do all of us a favour and anyone that is stupid enough to follow us into this a favour also. When someone asks you what you do in the cruise don't come back with 'read the comics' even if that is what you do. Perception is reality behind the locked door.

What is Joe SLF going to say when asked if she or he wants well trained flight/support crew? "Sh1t yeh!". What is Joe SLF going to say when asked if she or he will pay an extra brass razoo to fly with an outfit with slightly higher standards? "F@ck off!".

The bean counters know that they need to keep the outfit making money to survive. What they don't have to do is worry about starting out as an office clerk again if the outfit fails. They still have their experience and qualifications to take to another employer. What do we do? Go looking for that elusive direct entry XXXXX (Insert your desired rank here) job with a company which will give us some chance of building a career because we like what we do. Then we take another hit in pay, conditions or rank (and hence probably both of the former) to get going again. The spiral dive continues. Oh, and BTW, don't think that you're immune to the effect if you're working for the flag carrier. It might not happen overnight, but it will happen. Sooner or later you will be facing the same fate with which the rest of the industry is now well acquainted. Seniority is outlawed in some western countries!

I don't know what the answer is. I'm not really sure that there is one. I do know that there are things that we do which accelerate and exacerbate the problem. Just don't be so dishonest to yourself and to your friends as to describe this as a Greatjob. It may have been once but that was a moment in time.

Aviation was better last week....

[Edited to include the many other employees in this industry being industrially pillaged!]
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Old 19th Dec 2003, 03:07
  #24 (permalink)  
 
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You can tell that I have been stewing on these issues for some time.

My latest thought is that ultimately free market forces are sculpting this industry. It is mainly the appearance of cut-throat competition that is forcing airlines to cut costs in order to compete and maintain market share.

The real issue is whether the market is competing fairly, because if one particular airline is ignoring regulations to keep their costs down, another that refuses to cut corners to such a degree could eventually be forced out of business for what amounts to unfair or even illegal competition.

It is my contention that some airlines are indeed failing to maintain the minimum standards as set out by JAR, and are therefore forcing some to follow or die. I'm not advocating the abolishment of the competition that keeps air fares reasonable and within the reach of the average punter, but since the market has reached such a state recently, wouldn't it be prudent for authorities to make sure that standards are not dropping below minimum levels in regards to regulated procedures as well as the treatment of staff and health and safety standards?

The regulations were designed to maintain standards in a safety critical industry, so at what point are they going to realise that the fierce competition and self regulation just won't mix anymore?

As I said on another thread, I saw many regulations routinely broken by BMHS and Aviance. I did my duty (even though it cost me my job/career) and reported these incidents to the relevant authorities. Some of which investigated, but when the investigation consisted of them basically asking the companies whether they were doing it right, and accepting their answer "yes, of course we are", you can understand why I have no faith in the system to enforce the regulations. And again, by the time they do, probably because of a big smoking hole, they may then realise that the airlines can no longer financially, or through lack of infrastructure, actually comply with the regulations.
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