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Low paid pilots from UK

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Low paid pilots from UK

Old 5th May 2001, 14:53
  #1 (permalink)  
Posts: n/a
Arrow Low paid pilots from UK

Why do the Brits work for so much less then Americans? Your cost of living is very high, your working conditions are nothing terrific, and the future isn't looking any brighter. Everytime I turn down an offer for some overseas carrier because of the low pay, 10 Brits are on there knees to some arab or such for the chance to work. Are things that bad in the UK?

Moreover, do you have any union power or is it every man for himself on the emeral island? I can not imagine UAL, AMR, CAL, pilots putting up with an Atlas B-747 wetlease for 2 seconds. So why are the BA pilots allowing their company to outsource their highest paying equipment to US pilots?

I really do want to know, I am not just trying to cause trouble. Warmest regards.
Old 5th May 2001, 15:04
  #2 (permalink)  
Posts: n/a

Because the majority (not all) of British commercial life sees employees as a means of creating profit but not sharing in it.We are run by accountants who know the price of everything and the value of nothing and our airlines are saturated with them!!
Old 5th May 2001, 15:26
  #3 (permalink)  
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Two other reasons I can think of;

First the union movement got into such disrepute by the late 1970's that when a certain lady P.M. decided to not just neuter but dismember the body, no one really cared. Which means that all unions find it harder to show any muscle these days

Secondly, although our income may not be great it is still above average for the UK. So compared to our friends and relatives most of us are better off. That brings a kind of complacency. I am especially sad that we even treat the next generation of pilots the same way. How else do you explain the proliferation of 'B' scales and the constant erosion of pension and other benefits for new joiners. We shouldn't put up with it but our own comfort makes us lazy and complacent.

Sad but there it is.

Right, I'm off to renew my Labour Party subsription..... Doh!
Old 5th May 2001, 15:35
  #4 (permalink)  
Posts: n/a

But we to have our share of those same beancounters here in the US of A, but with a bit of solidarity, groups manage to obtain enough power to get more than just the crumbs. Even Continental pilots, after Frank Lorenzo, 2 visits to the bankruptcy court, and almost a third visit, finally said to management, "go pound sand!" "You are going to pay us more." UAl, DAL, and soon AMR, and Atlas have shown that pattern bargining is back to stay; in good times and bad. My airline bargins with Boeing for planes, with airports for gates, with lawyers for political access, etc. I can just imagine the laughter if our CEO asked BP for a break on the jet fuel prices because he thought it was going to be a bad year and wanted to protect his share holders earnings. Good luck.

I always tell my union comrades, "You don't get paid what your worth, you get paid what you bargin for." That goes for Shell Oil, Airbus and most especially pilots. Of course I tell management, "You don't pay me all this money for what I do, you pay me for what I can do."

While I don't mean to be contentions, I am sorry but I have to put most of the blame on the pilots that just won't fight for more. Be the more: respect, money, time off, etc. Even the Atlas pilots finally said that they don't work on some Paki rice farmer's plantation, and you will pay more, a lot more. It's too bad he didn't live to see the way labor in his adopted country has the ability to grab a place at the table and bargin, but rest assure his sucessors will. (And I do not work for Atlas.) At any rate it seems that many brits have that surf mentality, (actually a lot of the europeans seem to have it), and I don't know if it is a hold over from the socialism days, the welfare state, or what. For god sakes don't you remember what the empire used to be?

With luck the Germans will show the EU pilots the way out. Support them for your own sake.
Old 5th May 2001, 15:41
  #5 (permalink)  
The Guvnor
Posts: n/a
Thumbs down

Actually, I'd see UK salary levels as being about right for the skill levels and personal input by crews. Expat salaries for airlines in developing nations are generally much higher due to the poor conditions there.

Frankly, I'd say that the problem is on the part of the US majors such as Delta and American that allow themselves to be blackmailed by their pilots into paying suicidally high salaries.

We all know that we're now into a global recession - even though Gordon Brown claims that the UK will avoid the worst of the fallout - and what happens? You have the DL guys demanding (and getting) pay increases that will add US$2.4 billion in costs over the next four years; LH guys are 96% in favour of striking; AA pilots want even higher increases than those awarded to DL crews ... it's completely insane!!

The best solution - which is the one that I personally advocate - is that everyone should be on a decent basic salary and then have both profit share and a compulsory ESOP. That way, everyone wins when the company does well; and when things are tight they just have to tighten their belts as well. This should apply to everyone from the CEO to the tea-lady.

Economics 101 - when you're entering a recession, you cut costs, not increase them!!

Not a lot of point being the richest person in the unemployment office...
Old 5th May 2001, 16:00
  #6 (permalink)  
Posts: n/a

Your idea is great in theory, however, what seems to happen in practice is that the bean counters can distort the profit/loss picture by financial engineering, and management can mismanage, so that the employees work their butts off, but management manage to seize an astounding loss out of the very jaws a goldmine situation.
Given the less than brilliant history of airline managements, and the likes of Lorenzo and Icahn in financial engineering, it is hardly surprising that not many want to risk their financial future on the competence and integrity of many airline managers.

[This message has been edited by SunSeaSandfly (edited 05 May 2001).]
Old 5th May 2001, 16:06
  #7 (permalink)  
Posts: n/a

Dear Guv,
Yep, there goes that surf mentality, mixed with that healthly, or would that be unhealthy, dose of socialism. I hope you're type isn't too common.

Is BP going to lower fuel cost because the airlines need relief? Is the government going to lower taxes because business needs relief. Are the CEO's going to give back big chunks of their stock, salary & perks, because there is a recession?

You bargin for yourself, and I'll bargin for myself. We'll see who ends up with some form of financial independence, freedom and security. Let me let you in on a secret, because I bet you don't have a clue; if you are planing on that government/company controlled pension for your independence...well, it isn't independence, it's a mirage. Like the US social security program, you better be able to do without it.) Good luck surf.

P.S. I've survived more than one bankrupt company and I can still turn down SIA and the Kuwaities when they want to pay me less then $150K to fly one of their B-747's. It comes down to guts and management of your working life. No guts, poor management, and you make youself a slave. If the shoe fits...
Old 5th May 2001, 16:29
  #8 (permalink)  
The Guvnor
Posts: n/a

SeaSunSandFly - I agree; that's why it's essential that the employees are also shareholders. Shareholders as owners of a company are entitled by law to information that is otherwise not (necessarily) available - and of course they also have the ability to dismiss directors of a company if they are making a mess of things.

Employee board representation is also a must.

ex-expat - that 'unhealthy dose of socialism' you refer to is a heartfelt concern for employees. Is this a bad thing? Rather strange, considering your own posts/views! :P

Nope, BP won't reduce their fuel prices (though if demand goes down, so do prices). However, if you knew the first thing about economics, you'd know that in a recession people cut back on unnecessary expenses (and often necessary ones as well): and that includes air travel in particular. Companies no longer allow their staff to use premium cabins; this means that overall yield levels fall significantly, putting the company into a loss situation. To add costs - such as significantly higher wage bills - at such a time is suicidal. Ever heard of companies such as TWA, Pan Am, Eastern, Air Florida, Braniff, etc - all of whom have now disappeared to the great airport in the sky because their costs were greater than their income?

If, for argument's sake, one of the US majors were to either go into Chapter 11 or even Chapter 7, you'd have a massive glut of skilled pilots on the market - again. In that scenario, salaries would nosedive as supply once again outstrips demand; and people like you who want the earth will remain grounded.
Old 5th May 2001, 16:31
  #9 (permalink)  
Posts: n/a

Oh,yes! Well said ex-expat.

As for the likes of our chum The Guvnor, sadly his type is almost the norm in airline management here. They like to think they're tough, ruthless, and successful. All they are is ruthless. Sooner or later it will catch up with them, but not before aircrew wake up to themselves in precisely the manner you advocate.

Again, very well said indeed.


"a heartfelt concern for employees"??? Come off the bloody grass. You crease me up!

[This message has been edited by tilii (edited 05 May 2001).]
Old 5th May 2001, 17:23
  #10 (permalink)  
Posts: n/a

Well Guv,
Don't worry you want to work for less, and I am sure you will. That is at least one thing I know about economics.

I've worked for two of those companies you sited; the employees didn't fail in their jobs, managment did. If the pilots had worked for free we would still be out of business. I (and a good many others) took my valauble skills and abilities and sold them somewhere else. Took the proceeds and purchased assets, not liabilities. Some years the assets made more than I did flying. I would fly for some desperate operator for three months at $15,000. Brits were willing to do the same job for $5,000 and a pat on the head. Now those same people are in the desert, doing the same job still, years later for $5,000! They will always be surfs, much like I suspect you are.

In the book "Winning Through Intimidation," the art of the deal is always being able to walk away. If you can't do that you can't deal, you're a slave. You can't be helped, but I hope some of your country men will not be jealous of the salaries of the few, but be inspired. It's out there, but they don't give it away for free. Warmest regards Guv, and good luck in your old age, you're going to need it.

Old 5th May 2001, 17:40
  #11 (permalink)  
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"All is for the best in the best of all worlds." (Candide)
Yeah, right!

Youīre talking supply and demand - Thatīs exactly whatīs happening right now.

Pilots are just another cost-factor.
That is how most managements deal with them anyway.
The price for this means of production varies according to the "supply" and the "demand" - itīs just something "strategists" have to deal with - just like the price of fuel etc..
Itīs got NOTHING to do with responsibility for people.

Itīs about return on investment.
In this case they have to invest in people/pilots - They will get a decent return if they wait long enough and, like any good investor, are in it for the long-run.

The real problem is "TRUST" - itīs just not there and wonīt be for a long time, if ever - as long as these people are not held personally responsible (instead they get a severence package) for their decisions (like us pilots who might end up in jail for making "poor" decisions).

(BTW ex-expat: Thatīs "serfs" - finally figured it out)

[This message has been edited by wonderbusdriver (edited 05 May 2001).]
Old 5th May 2001, 18:06
  #12 (permalink)  
Posts: n/a

Guv -
I get a US major airline wages AND profit sharing. In fact, I should get another profit sharing check from the management pirates at Atlas Air Cargo too -- the one they stole from me last year. The pilots finally won their lawsuit for Atlas withdrawing profit sharing just because the pilots unionized - illegal under US labor law.

ex-expat is right. Brit pilots taken as a whole are push-overs, when it comes to dealing with management -- especially BA. If they let management wet-lease 2 400's, they might as well contract out the whole lot. Guess they've never heard of a scope clause.

BTW, pilot salaries don't kill airlines, management buffoonery and fuel costs kills airlines.

Did you pick-up those DAL L-1011's yet? Still looking for your startup airline, to . . . well . . . "startup."
Old 5th May 2001, 18:22
  #13 (permalink)  
Posts: n/a

Employee shareholding is another myth that has not worked well in the real world.
First of all, there are usually disclosure clauses that prevent employee board members disclosing vital information. Secondly, there are usually cliques at board level that have agendas not widely visible to the rest of the board.
So in real life, employee board members are a neat way of getting heat off the board on many issues.
I have heard rumours that NWA employees are not thrilled with the results of their shareholding, anybody got any feedback on this or other instances?
Are there any instances that can be used to illustrate the resounding success employee shareholding?
Old 5th May 2001, 19:10
  #14 (permalink)  
Posts: n/a


I think that at the root of this argument lies a totally different culture between US citizens and those that live in the UK. You have to remember that the US has a freemarket economy with a much more right wing approach to economics. The difference I have found is that life revolves around money in the US - something that is not so much the case in the UK. We are, of course, from a more socialist background than yourselves.

Although aircrew here are paid a lot less in general than yourselves, the money is still good. As you will appreciate, wages in the long run are set by supply and demand. I believe that, if it were not for a pilot shortage at the moment, the likelyhood that aircrew would be paid the amounts that they are at present with US majors is slim. In my opinion, although the job is a responsible one, pilots are not worth $300,000 a year - after all, there are LOTS of people who could do the job - we are not that special!!!

Although you may well think that this is an irrational approach, you have to ask the question "why do British pilots not pressure airlines & management for higher salaries?" I certainly do not think its because were a nation of pushovers, and I doubt we are seen as this around the world!! My personal view is that the longterm outlook for you guys is not rosey.

Anyway, as they say, 'each to their own', and who the f@ck am I?!


Old 5th May 2001, 20:47
  #15 (permalink)  
Beaver Driver
Posts: n/a

Would the profit sharing come after the multi-million dollar salaries of the executives, or before they pay themselves. I think your pay should be directly tied to profits, with no minimum, maybe then you guys will quit squandering money that should go to your employees paychecks. Pilots are the backbone of an airline, not management. A lots of you guys are con artists who are so out of your depth when it comes to true management that it should be criminal (look in the mirror). That is what has caused the predatory self preserving demand for high slaries. Pilots have seen many airlines go bankrupt due to poor management, while the company executives gently waft into another job with a platinum parachute. We want to insure our future if the airline tanks. At least a 6 figure salary will get us thru the re-hiring process. Most of you guys are in this business for one thing and one thing only, personal gain. Pilots are just a tool for you to make a personal fortune. You all should take a look at the management style of South West and Malden Mills.

Employee loyalty comes from much more than a few pennies of profit sharing after you have bilked the company for your mansion, 1.4 million dollar (mostly endeserved and unearned) salary, your company limo, your staff of dozens to do the job you should be doing etc. etc. ad nauseum.

Do you CEOs and managers think we can't see what you are spending money on. A couple of seats on the board with some say so over how you spend the companies dollars (including your salary)is a start as is profit sharing, but these should be only a couple of facets of proper employee relations. It will take a lot more than this to repair the damage caused by the Lorenzos, the Ichans, the Bergts of this world.

[This message has been edited by Beaver Driver (edited 05 May 2001).]
Old 5th May 2001, 20:56
  #16 (permalink)  
Posts: n/a

Guv: "...seat on the board.."
"...sharing of info..."

that's exactly what the Delta guys wanted over the last decade, but DL management would do anything to avoid it. Just didn't want to share any info in their "club", I suppose.

Everybody keeps mentioning the $300k pilots, but they make up a small % of the total at the Majors. It's really quite wrong to use that figure - you should use average pay for the carrier or salary cost/seat mile ( not total cost/asm ), for comparisons.

Funny, the % of management earning $300k-plus stock options is never mentioned, Guv; why is that???

As a Brit, I think a lot of the attitude comes from the Military ethics of "come on chaps, just put up with it and stop whingeing". It's why the RAF has such pi$$-poor managers and we make-do with sub-standard equipment. "Didn't happen during the Blitz, old chap" - good mentality at the right time, this is not it....
Old 6th May 2001, 02:43
  #17 (permalink)  
Posts: n/a

Over the last five years experienced pilots have been in short supply in the UK. There has been a lot of movement between companies, which according to economic theory should lead to rising salaries(demand greater than supply in a highly mobile work force). Judging by the accents in the air the tight market has sucked in experienced pilots from other countries. That doesn't quite fit with the idea of UK pilots being the only ones prepared to work for lower salaries. I think the situation is much more complex. The USA has a culture of devil take the hindmost. I have brought this up before but we need to look at the total pilot market. There is a huge gap between what pilots with the majors and those with the regionals earn. What is the average income of a professional pilot in the US and in Europe. Even that will nopt tell us if the Americans really are better negotiators or if those with the clout thrive at the expense of those on the way up. You also have to compare salary levels with comparable professions in the two markets. Remember the airlines compete for people not just with each other bit with many other industries who need technical professionals. This will have a large effect on salaries required to attract the right people. You have to compare like with like.
Old 6th May 2001, 04:09
  #18 (permalink)  
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Sorry Folks,
I guess I am a product of the American school system. Squandered my adolescence drinking alcohol and dealing with a testosterone bathed cortex, i.e. girls. Usefull memories for late married life however.

Surf, you ride on it with a board, at least in California = Serf, somebody rides you like a board, like Normans. Without doubt there are multiple spelling errors, and I'm not going to get away with the excuse that, "It's the Americian spelling. You know, like tire vs tyre."

Forever embarrassed,
The ex-expat.

PS Please save us, put a spell checker in the mail program!!
Old 6th May 2001, 12:50
  #19 (permalink)  
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The above post is the last I am ever going to read on this forum. I am ashamed to have spent any time on the same website as someone who can stoop so low. I'm also stunned that it has not been removed yet. Now, how do I remove my name from the records of this sewer.

Just in case you have come back to read this forum you might like to know that the post above yours was deleted as soon as it was spotted by a moderator. Unfortunately it wasn't spotted until now because the few of us who do try to keep an eye on things were either asleep or doing our day (or noght) job.

[This message has been edited by Capt PPRuNe (edited 06 May 2001).]
Old 6th May 2001, 13:17
  #20 (permalink)  
Join Date: Jun 2001
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As a union member since 1957 I can safely say that the unions had it coming to them. Their leaders tried to use their power to manipulate the UK economy in the hope of destroying the post war recovery and introducing a left-wing socialist/communist government in the aftermath. They, together with Labour Party members and others who returned from visits to the Soviet Union with tales of "how good it was over there" were traitors and treasonists.

Don't forget that Margaret Thatcher, in her trade union reforms, denied employers the right to re-employ strike breakers during the first three months of a dispute.

Finally, a union is its members - if they will not stand together and take concerted action then nothing the union officers and national executive do will achieve victory in a salary & conditions dispute.

ogseminole, may I suggest deletion?

[This message has been edited by Basil (edited 06 May 2001).]
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