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Deteriorating Working Conditions and Safety Implications make International News

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Deteriorating Working Conditions and Safety Implications make International News

Old 11th Apr 2016, 22:22
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I was also very critical against Unions in the past but I have to admit now that without good Unions the general population working conditions are totally unprotected from exploitation. It is already happening.
I am in the same boat and agree with your post.
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Old 11th Apr 2016, 22:30
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Spot on ILS !!
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Old 11th Apr 2016, 23:12
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The German model is a good example of modern capitalism
That's not what I am reading in the top post about poor working conditions, "exploitation" and low salaries at Germanwings and other European airlines....
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Old 12th Apr 2016, 09:31
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kerosene - the issue is that risk can, at times, be very difficult to assess, quantify and react to. If a company asks me to fly an aircraft with one engine inop (an extreme example) then the decision to say no is easy.

To say 'no' due fatigue is far more ambiguous.
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Old 12th Apr 2016, 10:36
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The articel is very spot on and pretty much sums up the situation of aviation in Europe.

However, to headline it with the deliberate crash of the Germanwings plane is not just ridiculous, but plain wrong. With this it destroys the credibility of its message.

The copilot concerned had one of the best careers possible in Europe's aviation nowadays: he had his training financed by Lufthansa, he had a loss of licence insurance paid by his employer, he was well paid on a monthly fix salary, and he was accumulating Lufthansa mainline seniority while flying for Germanwings.

Now that being said, back to the articles message: what is clear: we need a new unionism in whole Europe. Companies have become transnational, so should unions. We also need more realistic and adapted unions, who let their leftish idealism behind, because that makes them unacceptable for a lot of employed people, who actually still believe in capitalism and free markets.

France is a very good example: unions which are way too strong on the political level, and therefore distort democrazy as a minority, while at the same time being too weak on a corporate level to do their job, to enforce a fair share of the profits for the employees.
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Old 12th Apr 2016, 10:51
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Well said ILS. Lots missing the point and comparing unequals. The "massive price" could well be the hull loss together with innocent lives.

I recall phoning a mate of mine years ago, in the ME. He had gone from UK legacy to UK charter to UK bucket & spade but landed on his feet with overseas legacy. Terms & condition continued to deteriorate and where he once enjoyed good rest in top hotels, he was suffering from severe food poisening & was languishing in converted staff quarters . Poor guy could hardly talk but did mention that he was extremely overworked and felt extremely undervalued. The company's top dogs continued to pull out massive bonuses and enjoyed the top hotac.

I too was set against Unions but was pursuaded to join by some of the BALPA bullies but moreso by the diplomatic sweet-sell by my own colleagues. Actually, I converted and enjoyed the "group" protection for the rest of my career.

I often wonder if my mate and others I knew all over the world might have faired better with Union protection.

You can't vote with your feet & continue to put food on the table. It's a BIG worry & I fear worse to come.
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Old 12th Apr 2016, 12:11
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Landflap
I don't think that there will be worse to come. There is expected to be an extreme pilot shortage in the near term. All of a sudden moving to another airline with better conditions will become feasible again. It is a supply and demand issue if the beancounters used to long queues of pilot job applicants, suddenly find that they are having to reduce routes because they cannot attract pilots there will be a rapid volte face.
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Old 12th Apr 2016, 12:34
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Trader - I can only agree. The big problem with fatigue is that it's cumulative and impairs judgement. Pilots are in general highly motivated and goal oriented. We are also a proud bunch and have this 'can do' attitude. It's very difficult to assess yourself before starting a long duty when you feel somewhat rested and think you're okay to do the job. Many hours into the flight you may however feel totally different.

How to know you're fatigued and unfit to fly? When you experience yourself during the end of a flight totally worn out, slow in thinking, lacking in situational awareness to the point that you are not sure you can safely handle a critical situation.

Imperfect as this is. This is the time to call in fatigued and file an Incident Report. You were at the controls unable to fulfill your duties.

When management disregards the needs and capabilities of human beings for the sake of profit maximization, refering to their lobbied legal limits, let them deal with the consequences. Every sportscar has a gauge depiciting max RPM. Does that mean it's a good idea to continually run the engine at max revs? Should we as pilots pretend to function when we don't?

We have to act with integrity and call in fatigued when we are. Doing this, things will change. Quickly.
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Old 12th Apr 2016, 13:13
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Kerosene
There can be no excuse for them to 'overlook' when airlines become creative and invent money-making schemes from junior pilots or create workplace conditions akin to master and serf from times long past.
Do you think it was the airlines that invented this or a creative flight training industry seeing a gap in the market during a financial downturn in the early '90's?
How to know you're fatigued and unfit to fly? When you experience yourself during the end of a flight totally worn out, slow in thinking, lacking in situational awareness to the point that you are not sure you can safely handle a critical situation.
Or when you wake from a rest period feeling exhausted and more fatigued than when you went to bed.

Lubitz was a clinical psychopath who had been identified as suffering from mental health deficiencies that should have prevented him from flying long before he reached an A320 - this is where EASA and all other regulatory bodies should be focussing their attention (as indeed EASA are), as well as greater scrutiny paid to professional pilot selection and training. The suggestion that he was depressed as a result of working conditions, atypical employment or bogus self-employment or any of the other terms bandied about with respect to 'new' employment practices used by some low cost operators or fatigued from FTL's used as targets rather than limits is nothing more than a means for employee associations to promote their interests on the back of a horrible event that could have been prevented if EU (German) privacy laws with respect to those employed in safety sensitive roles worked in favour of those whose ultimate safety should have been assured through the maintenance of an EASA Class 1 Medical.
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Old 14th Apr 2016, 00:09
  #30 (permalink)  
 
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Pilots are fairly well educated, no? They have demonstrated numerous skills, physically, mentally, judgmentally and in real time, no? So, when the working conditions get so intolerable, unsafe, fatiguing, and financially unrewarding, these same individuals are unable to vote with their feet and regardless of their love for slipping the surly bonds of earth, are unable to find any sort of alternative employment. Am I getting that straight? Or do the airlines have some sort of slave-holding bonds on these pilots?
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Old 14th Apr 2016, 01:00
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You HAVE got it right. The hold is not called "serfdom", in most cases it is call seniority.
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Old 14th Apr 2016, 09:03
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Seniority does seem to have a bit to answer for. If it didn't exist it would be frustrating for a while as your company hired in new Captains over the top of you but after twenty years or so enough old boys would have fallen off the top of the tree to get you into the left seat. Also, if you were a sharp operator and upgrades occurred based on merit you wouldn't have to wait the full twenty years. Also, if your operator wasn't creating sustainable rosters you could simply walk down the road to the competition without taking a 100k pay cut.
Remind me again why we have seniority?
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Old 14th Apr 2016, 14:44
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We have discussed seniority before. In my view, it only works for a handful of pilots at the top and the companies and managers. It is a cage that prevents movement of workers from bad companies to good and permits poor management cultures and poor terms and conditions because pilots with a small amount of seniority are reluctant to start again.

Take a look at medicine, the maritime industry, engineering, law, finance, education or any other profession, and you will see it does not exist there. Seniority lists are peculiar to pilots and actually break a lot of employment laws. Why we continue with them is simple - airline managers love them and the unions permit them because the councils are usually filled with senior pilots.
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Old 14th Apr 2016, 15:55
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Seniority is like Democracy - not a perfect system, but better than the alternatives.
In the examples you've (framer) quoted, the FO's in a fast growing airline I know (in SE Asia!) do not want to wait 20 years while the Company hires-in over their heads. I can see their point. Maybe they're a bit impatient, but who can blame them.
When some are called to go forward for upgrade they are called based on their 'Performance', not just in being 'incident free' etc, but (more importantly) in how slavishly compliant they've been (maybe for the last 20 years?).
Sheer blackmail. A bullies charter.
And I should also say that, having worked in numerous airlines around the world, they ALL have these things in common - nepotism, favouritism, and cliques. Seniority (purely applied) is the only protection the 'less favoured' have.
It really only works if coupled to a strong union which monitors, protects, and forces fair implementation.

Which other Professions require the 'Quantum Leap' that aviation demands for pilot upgrade?
Young engineers may have thousands of prospective employers to choose from, and experience is simply time served and experience gained. No expensive and challenging 'Command Checks' there. Or in Medicine. Or Law (unless you mean being 'called to the Bar' which is just really a personal choice and not follwed by the vast majority).
Yes, Seniority Lists are indeed peculiar to pilots, because of their peculiar career path.

As for 'walking down the road' - you think they'd ALL be required next door?
This isn't a village co-op. Walking down the road may mean going to the other side of the planet.
Such is life in aviation.
Who'd want it?

Last edited by Algol; 14th Apr 2016 at 16:10.
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Old 14th Apr 2016, 22:40
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I'll try to refrain from a political diatribe...but this stuff makes my blood boil. It's all about sustainability and *reasonable* profit expectations. As others have mentioned, it's a race to the bottom in most businesses and if unchecked, our economic system will ultimately implode on itself. Costs can not be cut indefinitely...profits can not increase every year, and market share can not increase at the expense of ones competition every quarter. The ownership and BOD of most big businesses are seemingly unable to grasp that concept. Sustainable and fair is not in their vocabulary, nor were they hired to do anything other than make more money with less cost. In their minds it would seem that if we aren't more efficient and gaining market share every year, then we are 'losing' and sacrifices will have to be made. The tired line we hear over and over to justify their actions is their 'responsibility to the shareholders'. The banks are famous for this...oh, we only made 6 billion instead of the projected 7 billion...so we'll have to lay off a bunch of people and those who remain will pick up the slack be happy to have a job or be fired and replaced with a lackie-boot-licker at half the salary. There is no loyalty to the tenured employee anymore. In fact, the more tenured, the more of a liability you are it would seem in this new age of cut-throat cost cutting and shaving corners. Sure, that'll keep the shareholders happy. This is especially scary in companies where safety and security is paramount. I include not only aviation, but power generation, public transport, etc. Nobody wants big Government, but I just feel we can't trust big business in any industry to attain what is required for a sustainable economy and keep everyone's best interests in mind. Rant mode off and I'm dusting off my Lenin hat
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Old 15th Apr 2016, 04:04
  #36 (permalink)  
 
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Bonuses and its associated culture is also much to blame. It generates short-term thinking and the quest for immediate profit. One the annual bonus is earned and it's in the bank it is safe. Crews are in it for the long-haul, bonus fed managers for the short-haul. Even if the company goes bust, is akin over, or falls on hard times the bonus is in the bank. Share-holders can also be in it for the quick profit. They are many, individuals & fund managers, who buy - sell over short periods to achieve small but accumulative profits.
The cost/wage cutting, to achieve the immediate profits, will never be recovered. Once chopped they stay chopped, even if they did long-term damage. Managers can always move on to other airlines or other industries; pilots are stuck in their professionals merry go-round. It is the same for many vocational professions. It is abused and exploited.
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Old 15th Apr 2016, 08:57
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As a fellow Brit it amazes me that,when talking about risk analysis,no one seems to care two hoots about how we find acceptable,trains thundering through stations,where the only attempt at safety,is a stupid yellow line,between a child and tonnes of iron and steel...
Same applies to London Underground stations..
Bottom line....COST!
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Old 15th Apr 2016, 09:42
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Issue all pax with Hi-Viz jackets and problem solved. They should be renamed force-field vests with guaranteed protection. No-refund available.
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Old 15th Apr 2016, 13:01
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Originally Posted by Algol View Post
Seniority is like Democracy - not a perfect system, but better than the alternatives.
...
Yes, Seniority Lists are indeed peculiar to pilots, because of their peculiar career path.
Such claims have always been made about seniority-based employment systems, i.e. "Yes, advancement on merit is all very well for lesser callings, but we are special, and must maintain our current system". I am not aware of any circumstances where those claims have ever been proven accurate. But there are always strong vested interests in maintaining the status quo, the natural conservative instincts of professionals such as pilots work to resist change, and (perceived) self-interest kicks in once a moderate amount of progress up the list has been achieved.


Still. Advancement on merit will come to pilots eventually - perhaps even be forced upon them, as with so many changes, in response to external pressures - and will probably quickly come to be seen as having been long overdue.
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Old 15th Apr 2016, 13:45
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Airlines in Europe push young pilots to the edge in a desperate struggle to live with huge debts as they fly without any job security. Itís enough to drive some mad, like the Germanwings flier who murdered 149 passengers.
Bullsh1t ... Young pilots are queuing up in their hundreds volunteering to desperately struggle to live with debts without any job security.

So the rest of the human race never struggle, never borrow money for training, a house or a car with the assurance that their employer shall never make redundancies or become insolvent?

I worked in recruitment, as soon as we may have advertised a job, any job, with 500 hours on type all the 200 (total) hour wonders would be on the phone pretty much offering to sleep with us in return for a job!
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