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Union Shafts its employees - yes its BALPA

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Union Shafts its employees - yes its BALPA

Old 9th Jun 2008, 22:39
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I don't think Brown did anything directly to ruin our pensions,
Excuse me? Robber Brown, in his first budget in 1997, removed ACT (Advance Corporation Tax) relief. This has cost the UK pension funds circa 5 billion per annum since. Coupled with changes to the accounting requirements for pension deficits i.e. having to account for the long term pension fund deficit in a current financial year has screwed FS pension schemes.

With a few notable exceptions the only employent that currently has a FS pension is government employment. Those pensions are not even funded by investment but by current tax receipts.

Brown screwed us.
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Old 10th Jun 2008, 13:41
  #22 (permalink)  
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Mous's ACT

If you read up on your economics Mouse, you'll learn that the reasoning behind the changes made over pension fund tax relief was to stabilise investment.

In the bad old days fund managers chased shareholder dividends thus constantly moving their money into the companies that were going to make the biggest short term gain. GB wanted to follow the German (& Japanese) Model where pension funds & other investors invested for long term growth in value. This was all part of the strategy to leave decades of Boom & Bust & produce slow but long term growth.

Fund managers have had over 10 years to catch up with this & if your pension fund is poor it's them you should shoot not GB. Companies (like BA) took lengthy pension holidays when times were good & immediately screamed "Crisis" when they spotted an opportunity to attack all the things they'd been forced to leave alone before. So look at fund managers & company managers if you want to hit the right target, otherwise you're falling for the well honed spin that the vested interests are so good at dishing out.
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Old 11th Jun 2008, 15:37
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Companies (like BA) took lengthy pension holidays when times were good & immediately screamed "Crisis" when they spotted an opportunity to attack all the things they'd been forced to leave alone before. So look at fund managers & company managers if you want to hit the right target, otherwise you're falling for the well honed spin that the vested interests are so good at dishing out.
Before accusing me of falling for spin perhaps you would care to examine the rules regarding over funding of pension schemes. In brief it (overfunding) is illegal and a 'pension holiday' becomes compulsory. In the old BA scheme (APS) a pension holiday was a legal requirement and in the new scheme (NAPS) BA never took a 'pension holiday'.

Whatever robber Brown's alleged motives he screwed the entire pensions industry, not just my part of it.
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Old 11th Jun 2008, 15:54
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Actuary speaking

I have no detailed knowledge of either BALPA or BA pension schemes, but I've no doubt that both GB's (not so) stealth taxes and over-optimistic contribution 'holidays' have contributed to the decline of Final Salary arrangements. A well-funded FS scheme is truly the 'gold standard' of pensions arrangements if you work for the same employer for at least 20 (preferably 30) years. In today's world, how many employees or employers have that expectation? Not very many!

If you've put your time (and contributions) into a FS scheme, then congratulate yourself and guard your assets carefully. But for a youngster entering employment for the first time, I wouldn't normally recommend joining a FS scheme.
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Old 11th Jun 2008, 16:52
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But for a youngster entering employment for the first time, I wouldn't normally recommend joining a FS scheme.
1. You are unlikely to be offered one anyway

2. You are also unlikely to be one employer that long either.

The mobility of the workforce has been an issue for FS pension funds as they dont work well for people who switch employers.

For some a good FS pension scheme has become like set of handcuffs, ensuring a miserable working life all for the sake of financial security when retired.
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Old 11th Jun 2008, 18:22
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Southernboy, you cannot believe this:
If you read up on your economics Mouse, you'll learn that the reasoning behind the changes made over pension fund tax relief was to stabilise investment.

In the bad old days fund managers chased shareholder dividends thus constantly moving their money into the companies that were going to make the biggest short term gain. GB wanted to follow the German (& Japanese) Model where pension funds & other investors invested for long term growth in value.
Did you notice in acting so 'altruistically' and 'trying to improve the pension industry (for its own good)', Brown removed about 5 Billion (I know a billion isn't what it was, but let's write it as it is....5,000,000,000.....Five thousand millions!) OUT of the pension industry into Revenue coffers in the first year, making it uneconomic for private companies to continue providing the best pension.....which is what local authorities and government employees retain, and maybe a tiny number of private companies in the UK. There are no airlines that can dream of providing FS pensions for their members. How then, can BALPA employees claim a right to it?
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Old 11th Jun 2008, 18:37
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Whatever the motives of Gordon 'Robber' Brown, my pension fund was worth just under 200.000.00 in 1997.
By 2000 it was worth 166.000.00
On my 50th birthday, just as soon as I was allowed, I bought an annuity before it was reduced any further.
The same fund today would be worth around 145.000.00
However he did it and for whatever reasons, he ruined many peoples future, apart, of course, for the 'Public Sector', including MPs.
Sympathy for Gordon ephing Brown is ridiculous and misplaced.
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Old 11th Jun 2008, 20:22
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Absolutely correct! Further, by his continued extraction of conservatively 5 to 6 BILLION per year from the pensions industry, the secondary effect has been the slowdown of the Stock Market because the investment by pension funds has been reduced, and hence, due to slower growth, what investment remains has slowed in turn. Remember the market level is currently lower than it was in 1997 when the Scottish liars came into Government!!! I note that newsreaders are beginnning to talk about the balance of payments deficit again - anyone remember 1978/9?

The myth that Brown was ever some sort of prudent financial guru has finally been shattered - he piggybacked onto a global period of low inflation and relatively stable growth - (not to mention a hard fought and won Tory fight against their own economic excesses which was just bearing solid fruit when they were ditched at the polls) - and claimed it as his own work. Of course now the inevitable Labour 'bust' is someone else's fault.
I recommend a book called "Squandered" which tells it as it is.
Fortunately the 42 days thing has been passed, (Not because it is good legislation, it is technically unworkable) but because it will keep Brown in No 10 a little longer and hence remove any chance that a replacement leader might manage to restore NuLiars place in the polls.
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Old 11th Jun 2008, 20:35
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What Gordon needs is another year in power.
The ongoing sight of his miserable face, the evidence of his charisma bypass, and the continuing and rapidly worsening economic slump will then make it clear to even more of the UK electorate that the sooner he is sent back to his manse in Kircaldy-on-Sea the better!
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Old 13th Jun 2008, 08:23
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Southernboy, you cannot believe this:

I can believe it as I got it straight from the person who was advising him at the time.

Yes of course the treasury benefited too but don't forget that it's the whole stock market based nature of things that causes pension fund to be worth X one day & Y the next. Markets fluctuate.

Long term growth does help damp out those fluctuations. Remember that if you had an FS scheme you would still get the pension irrespective of market fluctuations, so the 200k quoted that fell to 145k would be irrelevant. As I said earlier, companies have handed you that risk rather than carry it themselves.

Either way we've moved off the real issue, which is - that we see a well funded union, of which many of us are members, behaving like a corporate bully.
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Old 13th Jun 2008, 10:07
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It's a shame then that the person who was advising Brown at the time did not listen to the Treasury advice that his actions would screw the UK pensions industry. The Freedom of Information Act tends to turn over some embarassing stones for the government.
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Old 13th Jun 2008, 11:30
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Well nice one then lads, I think we are all in general agreement that pensions were much better back in the golden days, public sector pensions are much better than private ones, council tax is a rip off, and Gordon Brown and his cronies are a bunch of whores to big business. Big pats on the back all round for figuring that one out.

However, why don't you all turn your collective intellects to dwelling on the very near future rather than the past. Any fool can see that the industry is standing on the brink of its next huge downturn, and that there will very shortly be a large number of savage management assaults on what little remaining terms and conditions we collectively have left. BALPA will shortly be needed by its members like never before, and it better not be distracted by not having its own house in order!

BALPA's very reason for existence surely requires it to be whiter than white when it comes to its own in-house industrial relations, and to my mind it does have to lead by example when it comes to providing the terms and conditions for its own staff that we all wish we enjoyed. Hell it's only 33 office staff and I bet not many of them earn as much as even a turboprop F/O. I'd happily pay for them all to have gold plated pensions, 48 weeks holiday a year and Rolexes all round, if it means that a few airline managers will think twice about how far they can try it on with their pilots in the next pay review.

By behaving in this fashion, have BALPA not just given the opposition lawyers a great big whacking stick when it comes to the next round of defending ourselves against an airline that has unilaterally imposed changes on its employees?
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Old 13th Jun 2008, 11:46
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Nail & head

Well said Luke, that's hit the nail exactly on the head. I can just hear the management negotiating team now, "Oh excuse me, didn't you just trash your employees Ts&Cs & you don't have fuel costs to worry about...."
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Old 13th Jun 2008, 13:06
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Luke SkyToddler

Well said.

I would find it hard to ask someone to represent me, protect my butt and get me a pay rise, when those same people have just got screwed, and I stood back and did nothing.

Management must be enjoying this current round of 'divide and rule'
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Old 13th Jun 2008, 23:01
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i agree with NF's sentiments, i too pay more and more council tax (over 2k a year now) for less and less in return, the difference funding council pensions for not badly paid and not overworked public employees (ever tried contacting someone of any importance in the local authority on a Friday afternoon? They are usually, and mysteriously "out of the office")
Unfortunately the first rule of life is that what people consider the "right" thing to be done is usually whatever benefits them directly. There is no answer to this debate. Over the last decade we have had a government sympathetic to the demands of the public sector, their pay has gone up, pensions protected, billions of extra 's pumped in and for precious little extra return in terms of services. Go back 20 years, to the Thatcher era it was quite the opposite, the then higher earning private sector people were the winners back then, mainly through tax and NI reductions. The old adage "you can't please everyone" is so true. As a slight aside, it also amuses me that traditionally pilots have compared themselves renumeration wise to "comparable" professions such as medicine and law. Yes we all must attain professional qualifications blah blah blah but we are not comparing like with like. Lawyers especially are basically verbal mercenaries, and are paid for their "knowledge" of the legal system. Nobody likes the way they earn their money, until the time comes when they need a good one arguing their corner! GP's on 100+k a year? Are they worth this? i don't know. Like i say nothing is comparable. They secured the deal by negotiating with inept civil servants, but this was no doubt easier than our scenario in aviation because medicine is not a competative industry, and they were dealing with the bottomless pit of taxpayers cash, not hard, shrewd airline managements who in turn are only doing what they are being paid to do, to the best of their ability. Hopefully you can see the point i'm trying to make.
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Old 15th Jun 2008, 00:21
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demands of the public sector, their pay has gone up, pensions protected, billions of extra 's pumped in and for precious little extra return in terms of services
I have worked in the public sector for 21 years now. For the last 17 years my wage increases have been at, or more often lower, than the rate of inflation which of course excludes a number of factors. This year my monthly net amount went up by a whole 130 pounds while my rent went up by 80, my council tax by 15, let alone the petrol and food prices. Overall I've lost out.

As for pensions projected on my current wage I will get a grand 11k per year after 30 years service having paid around 50k into the scheme by then.

For this I have been taking emergency calls or manning police radio systems thoughout my career and has included some stressful moments (Shoreham airshow last year being one of them) so you can only guess what I think about petrol tanker drivers complaining of their 34k per year. Oh nearly forgot if I didnt work shifts my wages would go down by 25 percent. So I think I would have earned by 11k when I get there in 9 years time.
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Old 15th Jun 2008, 19:30
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Pensions lost

Until the Air Transport Pilots stand up, that is world wide stoppage we will never get respect from our passengers, neighbors and surely our Companys.
In America I watched my Union, ALPO MEC give up my fully funded pension in stead of freezing it where future and present day federal funding exsist. I did not get to vote. The MEC had the ability to change pay and benefits without membership ratifaction. It exsist now after we changed our rules but its lost. Probably 25 cents on a dollar and with rising prices of energy who can retire on that. We are infact enslaved to this job. It is no longer a profession. Had the unions require only a certain number of pilot licenses we would retire differently. The AMA has just that with Doctors. US Airways pilots voted out ALPO because of the above, also the Niclau award did not follow ALPO merger language. "fair and equitable for both partys"-"can be no winfall to anyone party".
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Old 15th Jun 2008, 22:06
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I think that a lot of this is to do with the incompetency of the new Chairman, Vice-chairman and General Secretary.

The last ADC was a travesty, BA conned easyJet into joining them to overthrow the Chair and Vice-chair, who were excellent, so that BA could then run a complete failure of a campaign, the outgoing BACC Chair's swan song!

The management of BALPA is now in disarray, there needs to be some big changes at the top.

(BTW the CCs don't choose the NEC the whole membership ballot for them, the Chair and Vice-chair are voted for by the delegates at the ADC).
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Old 15th Jun 2008, 23:20
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Why not face facts.
BALPA...and yes, even the US ALPA, are effectively finished as an organized body, their (collective) usefullness having long gone past the 'use by' date.

As in, dead as a doornail.

Prove me wrong.
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Old 16th Jun 2008, 08:22
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BALPA

I think that a lot of this is to do with the incompetency of the new Chairman, Vice-chairman and General Secretary.
I don't agree with your sentiments regarding the General Secretary but I do agree with the rest of your post. So far the new Chairman and Vice Chairman have done nothing other than make a whole load of promises about how they are going to change BALPA to make it more accountable to the membership. I have been a member for 20 years and I am as close as I have ever been to leaving. The only thing that stops me is the tireless efforts of my own CC to try and make things better. If there are no results at HQ I'll leave at the end of this year.
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