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BA Pilot's sex discrimination case. (Update: Now includes Tribunal's judgement)

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BA Pilot's sex discrimination case. (Update: Now includes Tribunal's judgement)

Old 24th Apr 2005, 06:35
  #381 (permalink)  
 
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I have no problem with equality of opportunity, irrespective of gender.

I do, however, have a significant problem with any dilution of experience levels that are set to ensure a minimum level of competence.

Years ago, now aging jocks like me were exhorted by Grampaw Pettibone, the astringent, acidulous curmudgeon, vaunted foe of the careless and mindless, to get a grip on basics. For Gramps, silence was no virtue and repetition no vice. Many of us are still breathing today because of the sharp tongue of the old coot with the whiskers.

Unlike some areas of the bureaucracy, the aviation industry isn't a social laboratory. These days, when I pay my hard earned spondulicks for commercial transportation, I expect the intrepid drivers’ airframe on the flight deck to possess the necessary experience and expertise to be able to deal competently with any in flight problems that may arise - irrespective of gender.

Such experience and expertise requires minimum time requirements. And if that means making decisions about about careers and family, then as Gramps would have said" "Great balls of fire," "Great horned toadies" and "Jehosaphat" ..."The world's best safety device is situated slightly above and between the ears--use it."
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Old 24th Apr 2005, 07:43
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Well done, BALPA - I will be more than happy to renew my membership when the time comes.
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Old 24th Apr 2005, 07:56
  #383 (permalink)  
 
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<<Well done, BALPA - I will be more than happy to renew my membership when the time comes.>>

And so am I.
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Old 24th Apr 2005, 08:06
  #384 (permalink)  
 
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Having read a lot of these posts, I think this woman (and her husband) are having a laugh! If she wants to spend more "quality" time with her daughter, then do so, but not at the employers expense.

She is now pregnant, when will she ever get to the 2000 hours threshold? Or was that never her intention?
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Old 24th Apr 2005, 08:45
  #385 (permalink)  
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Why was this case argued on sex discrimination grounds? The rules on 50% working applied by BA are, I presume, applicable to both male and female pilots. To argue that this rule affects women more as they are mothers is, in effect, sexist as it implies that ONLY mothers can care for their children. Argue the case at an industrial tribunal on contractual grounds by all means but playing the sex discrimination card is only going to lead to all the negative comments that we have seen over 27 pages of this thread.

Question: Why doesn't husband go to 50% working and bring up the offspring allowing wife to build up the 2000 hours experience? Alternately, why don't they both do 75% working and share the task equally?
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Old 24th Apr 2005, 08:46
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Having read a lot of these posts, I think this woman (and her husband) are having a laugh! If she wants to spend more "quality" time with her daughter, then do so, but not at the employers expense.
And the other FO's on the fleet who are having to pick up the slack. No wonder pilots are working their arses off in BA.

BALIX As I understand it...I believe the father is on a 75% contract? He could have gone to 50% as he has the minimum hours and experience.
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Old 24th Apr 2005, 09:11
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I have watched the progress of this case with mixed feelings,

As has been said previously child care does not only apply to mothers. My wife died suddenly in 1994 when I had two sons aged 8 and 15 years and, at the time, I was flying charter for TEA. I attempted to negotiate a part time working arrangement with the company for a period of two years or so. This was flatly refused on the grounds that it would set a precedent for others who might want to do the same.

My decision was to leave the company as I regarded child care as more important. Perhaps like this lady I should have taken legal action. I am now paying the price since it is now improving almost impossible to get back into any form of flying job.

The point I am making is that child care is not solely the prerogative of mothers.
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Old 24th Apr 2005, 09:43
  #388 (permalink)  
 
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Thumbs down

This lady has set back the female section of the aviation industry by many years.
I totally agree with genuine cases being allowed part time working but c'mon this gal is takin the p***.
At least the do gooders and the PC guys/gals will support her actions,
Good luck!
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Old 24th Apr 2005, 09:44
  #389 (permalink)  
 
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I read in the Telegraph yesterday how highly experienced this lady actually was - a thousand hours when she asked for 50% working, oh yes very experienced indeed. On top of that her husband/partner is a BA pilot - so laughing all the way to the bank then. On top of all that she is expecting a second child so that will prevent her working for a while - seems to me that some people just want it ALL.

RANT over - thanks BALPA for using my fees on this nonsense.
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Old 24th Apr 2005, 10:11
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I think this ruling could be both a blessing and a hindrance:

If it does set a precedent for pilots working 50% then it is arguable it may create more vacancies as the industry opens up to more part-time workers. This is good news for wannabe pilots, though of course the vacancies created would only be part-time ones.

I sympathise with the lady in question, but I do feel uncomfortable with it too - she is 26 years old and would have had the opportunity that so many thousands of trained, skilled but unemployed pilots have so desperately sought. I think she should recognise the privelidged position she was in and recognise that although equal rights are fundamental in our society, aviation is a career that isn't always compatible with a stable family routine - she knew that when she took the job, surely? Most people on here would give an arm and a leg to have been in her position, so to now demand she can't work more than 50% of her hours is a bit like biting the hand that feeds you, if that makes sense. She should be thankful for the opportunity she had been given.

Finally, I confess that I don't know much about the inner workings of Balpa, but like most professional bodies I guess they owe their duty to airlines pilots actively operating - i.e. not wannabes or aspiring pilots. So, their main concern is actively working pilots, with the industry as a whole coming second - which is why they probably took such a strong line of support for this worker's case.
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Old 24th Apr 2005, 10:25
  #391 (permalink)  
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Under the contract of employment that she signed was she entitled to go to 50% working?

Did BA introduce the 2000 hr rule AFTER she applied to go to 50%?
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Old 24th Apr 2005, 10:26
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And quickly, I'd like to respond to 'Shortfinalfred' who a few pages back suggests that people's disappointment at this decision amounts to chauvenism - you suggest that we replace the word 'woman' with 'black' or 'gay' to highlight your point.

Such comparisons are quite useless - because the point surely is that whether you are black/white/gay/straight you can still do the job to the same ability, and have no physical reason to perform differently. Here, there is a fundamental difference between men and women, that there isn't between gay and straight people, or black/white. It's not as if homosexual pilots have to take 9 months off because they are 'gay', or white people have to take 9 months off because they are white.

I'm a law student, and back in the 90s there were quite a few cases that spawned the whole 'gender equality' debate, starting with an aviation case involving Sabena airlines. The crux of the matter is that you can't treat men and women differently unless justified on objective grounds (ie. if they were doing different jobs!). The point I think in the BA cases we're discussing is that the gender equality argument has been followed through to an unnatural conclusion - what distinguished the earlier gender discrimination cases was that men and women were getting paid different amounts for doing the same job (which is, of course, bang out of order), and that clearly they had no control over their gender. HERE, the point is that this women DID have control over whether she had a kid(s) or not - she made that choice, and she ought to respect the fact that kids aren't compatible with such a disruptive career. In other words, this isn't a question of black/white, gay/straight, man/woman - where there is no discretion involved - it's a question of kids/no kids, and I suggest therefore that the gender issue is largely a red herring, although clearly only women actually give birth to kids (though men also raise them).

fmgc: I don\'t know, but I\'m sure someone else does. However, if she was entitled to go 50% then I guess there wouldn\'t have been such a controversial hearing, as she would have been entitled to it as of right. BA offered her 75%, so I guess she was on full hours.
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Old 24th Apr 2005, 10:48
  #393 (permalink)  

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Congratulations!!

I would like to add my humble comments to those made by noflare.

Well done Mrs Starmer!

You've done more damage to the cause of lady pilots than can be imagined by your self-centred egotistical attitude to your employer by proceeding with this case. Hubbie's career may well be affected.

What have you actually achieved? A very hollow victory. You had a very reasonable offer from your employer. You knew the rules when you joined. You chose to live out in the sticks and commute to work so that you could bring your kids up in a decent location. I commend you for that but it was your choice, not the company's that resulted in a 200+ miles journey to work in your own time.


When you're a doting grandma with a grand child on your knee you can look back and reflect what might have been had you left well alone.

Lady, this was definately NOT your finest hour.

MP
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Old 24th Apr 2005, 11:01
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MaximumPete.....and others

There is significant confusion and possibly deliberate mis-information here.

Can somebody in the know (and I mean really in the know, rather than the masses who just think they know everything!) confirm whether or not the rules were changed AFTER she applied for part-time work.

If, as I suspect, that is the case then it clearly explains why the tribunal have ruled in her favour or perhaps more to the point - AGAINST BA!!

An employer cannot be alowed to get away with such a practice. We'd all be ceremoniously screwed if that were the case!
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Old 24th Apr 2005, 11:07
  #395 (permalink)  

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FlapsOne

A good point but alas there will be no winners in this case, only losers.

I'm not counting the lawyers who got well paid for a professional job.

MP
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Old 24th Apr 2005, 11:50
  #396 (permalink)  
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FlapsOne:

Exactly!

What are the facts?
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Old 24th Apr 2005, 11:52
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As a self improver, I spent thousands and thousands of pounds before getting my "lucky break " and getting my first Airline job!!!
I sweated over many many examinations to reach that goal!!!
I gave up many many things to reach my dream!!!
I have had to live all over the country in an effort to achieve the job I wanted!!!

I wasn't ever lucky enough to get a look in at British Airways

This person was!!!

And how much did she want it???

26 years old - two years service - and she's had enough!

The rest is history!!!
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Old 24th Apr 2005, 11:55
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The emotional issues here of her being privileged, lucky to have such a good job, many wannabees would chew their own arm off etc are completely irrelevant.

It is a legal issue.
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Old 24th Apr 2005, 12:13
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According to the Balpa website:

"In addition the Tribunal did not find that BA had produced any compelling evidence that there was a threat to safety by granting part time working, and noted that the BA rule on “hours needed before consideration of part time working” had been introduced after Jessica had submitted her claim."

That said, it doesn't indicate whether the rules wer *changed* or whether this was an additional requirement imposed by BA on top of her contract. In other words, when she applied, could BA still have refused her on the reasons they gave (e.g. safety etc) even though this hours rule wasn't yet in operation?
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Old 24th Apr 2005, 12:45
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It would appear that the hours worked before part-time work could be considered had not been a previous issue, but only came to light as a result of this case.

BA saw there was a problem and changed their rules.

The timing may not have been brilliant but there you go.

MP
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