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Engineers joining forces with Pilots?

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Engineers joining forces with Pilots?

Old 15th May 2004, 01:18
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Engineers joining forces with Pilots?

Gents, I'd be most interested in your views on the post below;

http://www.airmech.co.uk/ubb/ultimat...37.html#000000

Maybe we could even join forces with Cabin Crew?!

Last edited by itsresidualmate; 15th May 2004 at 06:32.
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Old 15th May 2004, 04:03
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There is some precedent in the U.S.

The Teamsters have represented pilots, flight attendants and mechanics at various carriers in recent years. The IAM (of Eastern Airlines strike fame) have represented mechanics and flight attendants but no pilots that I am aware of. Most pilot contracts have provisions for honoring another union's picket line but that is sometime selectively enforced.

Years ago there was a strong U.S. flight engineer's union, the FEIA, that became a threat to ALPA's cockpit dominance. FEIA wanted to make the flight engineer second in command and paid accordingly. FEIA went on strike in the 1960's and ALPA cut a deal to make the flight engineer a "second officer" pilot and walked over FEIA's picket lines to break the FE union. Many ALPA contracts still contain legacy language concerning upgrade training for professional flight engineers to become pilots with no loss of seniority. And in the past, I've flown with some of these 1500 pilot hour captains (actually, they could count FE time toward part of the 1500 hours).
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Old 15th May 2004, 09:40
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I think we are talking about ground (Licensed) engineers here.

They missed their chance years ago when it was offered and are now paying the price with low wages and poor TU representation.

I personally would jump at the chance of joining a trade union that not only understood the LAEs job but was prepared to carry out the members wishes.

You get what you deserve..........AMICUS!
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Old 15th May 2004, 11:14
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I can't think for a single moment why pilots (in this case BALPA) would wish to bring in Aircraft Engineers. BALPA is a Professional Trade Association for Pilots (and Flight Engineers although precious few of them left now). As such we have no trade in common, and therefore no reason to join forces.

I get the feeling that you feel under represented by your present lot and seek to improve you position by hanging on the coat tails of any group that you perceive would help you. The answer is not to join forces with BALPA or BASSA or CC89 but to find a way to become united yourselves and get better representation.
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Old 17th May 2004, 18:37
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Here is my perspective from Air Canada; as an Aircraft Maintenance Engineer, I am represented by the International Associaction of Machinists (the I.A.M.). This union also represents all of the ground handler types, bag smashers, cargo guys etc. The un-skilled rampies are in the majority in our union, so guess whose interests get priority?

We have formed our own association now, the "Canadian Aircraft Maintenance Association", and are presently involved in the process of application to the Minstry of Labour to have our group certified as the official bargaining agent for Aircraft Maintenance personnel.

With Air Canada having slight financial woes at this time, the timeline of our battle is uncertain, but we are determined to have our own representation.

I have heard stories that some years ago, an offer was made from the Air Canada pilots to have the Engineers join with the pilot's association. I don't know if this is true, but I doubt it. Why would the pilot group wish to dilute their own group with ours? It would put them in a similar situation as having our Engineers grouped with the bag-smashers.

My advice to the Engineers in the U.K. is that if you're not happy with your present lot, then work to change it! It can be a long and bumpy road, but worth the effort.
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Old 17th May 2004, 19:03
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Wrenchbender
We all look to BALPA because of the great deals they have achieved for its membership,our union " AMICUS " is a very large union that represents many members at factories etc across the UK,it is a large union but in no way focused on our needs.

A further problem i find at BA is the apathy engineers seem to have with their lot,within BA a good engineer is viewed by the management as one that cuts corners and does a quick job,this view is disseminated to all the engineering staff making it very difficult for any of them to believe they are professionals.
I hate to say it but the truth is for us someone viewed as a " Good Engineer " is seldom a " Safe Engineer "
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Old 17th May 2004, 19:05
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As a matter of interest, how much does BALPA membership cost. I was under the impression it was around 3% of salary. If this is the case I imagine those sorts of rates would get the thumbs down from most engineers.
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Old 17th May 2004, 19:21
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Well Thats Me: It sounds like we have very similar problems. There is a lot of apathy amongst the Engineers at Air Canada. As much as everyone bitches and complains about our present union, we had difficulty signing up 50% of the guys to form a new union.

However, we are there now.

Rightstuff: Our dues with the new Association will be 2 X Hourly rate / monthly, which works out to approximately 1% of salary.
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Old 17th May 2004, 19:49
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Rightstuff
You will have to correct me here but i thought one of the reasons BAPLA was so expensive was it included a levy for " Loss of License" which is a hefty insurance.
I currently pay about 1% union fees ( slightly less ) - would i pay twice as much? considering what its done for the BA pilots - thats a yes.
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Old 18th May 2004, 04:43
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I didn't realise it included loss of licence insurance, that would explain the 3%. I'm an AMICUS rep and we have managed to secure some pretty good pay offers over the last couple of years. Feedback from some of our flight crew in PPRuNe has not been favourable concerning BALPA but, then, you can't please all of the people all of the time.
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Old 18th May 2004, 06:16
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rightstuff et al

don't believe everything you read! BALPA membership costs 1% of basic salary and doesn't include loss of licence insurance. In fact it costs less than 1% in certain circumstances, new joiners, unemployed etc.
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Old 18th May 2004, 08:31
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TOPBUNK
I dont know the details regarding BALPA but i did ask one of the pilots what he was paying and as a percentage it was over 3 times what i am - maybe theres an optional component to it regarding insurance.

Rightstuff
I really appreciate all the work the reps do, its a thankless job - however ----- "we have managed to secure some pretty good pay offers over the last couple of years." ---- all i have seen at BA since joining is a steady decline in my overall pay with inflation rises linked to performance factors,i have to make comment to your remarks because for me as an LAE its not true!
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Old 18th May 2004, 10:54
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Sorry guys it won't ever happen. BALPA has to be tightly focused on flight crew. Any enormous dilution of that task with very different areas will get voted out. What would be next, Dispatchers? Check-in staff? With the best will, it's a non-starter.
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Old 18th May 2004, 11:03
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I can understand why,our only hope is to form a union dedicated to the rights of Licensed engineers,with the introduction of the A Licence there must be 2000 potential members at BA.

Its about time we started looking after our own as a group rather than ( as BA are happy with ) little sections each having its own agenda.
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Old 18th May 2004, 22:48
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Just thought I'd add my sixpence worth. I work as an LAE with BA, currently being paid around 10K PA less than colleagues who work in similar roles with non BA operators.

There is no way on God's Earth that I would ever agree to join BALPA. I have nothing in common with flight crew, other than that I happen to work at a company that employs them. I do not wish to have anything in common with them.

On the other hand, I don't believe that Amicus is the answer for engineering, their credibility has shrunk to almost nothing over the last few years and gets smaller every time they take the company side in disputes, which is every dispute I can remember. Rightstuff, no offence meant as I'm sure you do your best as a rep, but I have never seen Amicus get anything for us other than scrapings from the bowl. I won't even start on the behaviour of the former convener, who was forced out over his collusion with the company in various matters.

Engineers in BA, particularly Licensed Engineers, have three choices:
1) Start getting militant within Amicus and remove any rep that shows sign of appeasement.
or 2) Join the ALAE, and start getting militant
or 3) Resign and go and work for somebody else.
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Old 19th May 2004, 03:14
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dbcooper:

You say that as an LAE at BA, you earn 10K less than an engineer at another airline??? That is a heck of a large difference! May I ask why? What's happening over there???
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Old 19th May 2004, 08:14
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wrenchbender

I dont know where it all went wrong,15 years ago the pay for a LAE at BA was good,now its not even average and the LAEs have no individual say to change that,AMICUS represents the mayority within engineering which is the technicians.

On the subject of RIMMER ( was the AMICUS And BA right hand man ) he got thrown out last year by the members,sadly it was 10 years too late.
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Old 19th May 2004, 19:18
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Posted by wrenchbender
You say that as an LAE at BA, you earn 10K less than an engineer at another airline??? That is a heck of a large difference! May I ask why? What's happening over there???
Good question. I would think a 10K difference is about the high end of the differential, although there are probably some companies do better than that. It appears that the basic pay for an LAE in BA is around 5K PA ,on average, lower than the competition to start with. Since there's no overtime and the shift pay isn't brilliant, by the end of the financial year, other outfit's earnings are way in front.

Why is this so? Three reasons. Firstly, managers in BA get bonus pay based on criteria that they are set to meet during the year by their senior manager. The criteria will involve cutting costs. As with all poor management, the easiest way to cut costs is to simply not pay as much or cut benefits, rather than attempt genuine improvements in efficiency. Secondly, The union is largely unlicensed or "A" licensed members so you can guess which way votes go. That's if the union hasn't already gone behind your back and signed the bit of paper anyway. Hence the recent removal of the convener, who should have been boiled in oil but instead got a pay off and early retirement from the company. A pity, as I think he might have suffered an accident involving a piece of rope and a gibbet when he went back to the shop floor. Thirdly, people are just plain apathetic.

Why don't people leave? Apathy. And, there isn't a great deal of work about, so any job, even a crap one, at least pays the mortgage until something else comes along. Long term, BA are committed to reducing engineering numbers, so they are happy with the current situation as it is an incentive for people to leave. Looking at the aircraft, it seems to me that cutting engineering numbers and lowering morale has a negative effect on maintenance standards. However, senior managers don't certify aircraft as fit to fly, and in the event of an accident there's sufficient insulation and scapegoats (i.e. Licensed Engineers) to ensure that they don't cop a charge of corporate manslaughter. Anyway, if you've ever gone to one of the management briefings by the end of it you would swear that we worked in the most safe and efficient company on earth. Presentation skills are something that BA managers strive to excel in, rather than excellence in maintenance. So, it looks like nothing's going to change unless we get off our rears and start making ourselves heard. And that is why I felt I had to post on the issue of joining BALPA. Joining another group with a different agenda is a nonsense, and would be warmly welcomed by the company as another way to divide and conquer.
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Old 20th May 2004, 22:14
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Sad situation. Sounds like your only solution is to start your own union.

Meanwhile, over on this side of the pond, one of the unions is holding Air Canada hostage! All unions involved with the airline have agreed to cost-cutting schemes, including pay-cuts, exept for one union. The Canadian Auto Workers, who represent the ticket agents and call center employees, are refusing to give in. Just now we hear that unless we have a deal by tomorrow morning, General Electric Capital is going to pull the plug on our financing, forcing us into liquidation.

That would be the end of Air Canada.

Hope I still have a job tomorrow.
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Old 20th May 2004, 22:55
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wrenchbender

Air Canada and BA have followed similar paths if you think of it,both with government intervention have tried to remove any direct competition in pursuit of the holy grail.

BA has faired quite well because of its route structure and lack of direct competition.

I sincerely hope you do have a job tomorrow and a future based on realistic rewards for the jobs you all do,i read in previous threads about Air Canada Baggage handlers getting very high pay rates,i imagine its the same in other sections and its certainly a problem at BA.

Please let me know what happens " from the horses mouth " as it were rather than the media - fingers crossed.
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