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NATS Redundancies

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NATS Redundancies

Old 19th Jun 2020, 15:49
  #81 (permalink)  
 
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Maybe I'm cynical, but I would guess the figures are being done with a number of permutations calculated to work out how many people can "leave the business". No doubt just as the Statutory Redundancy or whatever has been renegotiated comes into force then thats when the major cull will begin. As has been said before on this thread, the easiest target is T&Cs, I'm familiar with the natsags that have been more than generous to employees over the years, you only have to look at how the airlines are targeting pilots to have an indication of how this will soon filter through the ATC world. Its been some time since I've been in NATS HQ but always remember the "no expense spared" atmosphere and general luxury that existed there. Hundreds and hundreds of staff employed doing things that I would never dream of and yet they wouldn't know the difference in an A330 and a DH8. Will this continue while they chop ATCOs? Who knows!

As for moving it to the trash bin - I really don't think thats an option, unfortunately.
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Old 20th Jun 2020, 10:04
  #82 (permalink)  
 
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I'm assuming he means the trash bin because he hoped the issue will quickly go away, not that it shouldn't be being discussed.

Unfortunately I can't see any way that the customers(Airlines Operators) are going to allow NATS to continue without also suffering in a similar way to the cuts they are being forced/choosing to make. The businesses are so closely intertwined that it would be seen to be almost immoral that one part of it is seen to get away with little or no pain. That said, it is imperative that NATS ensure the AOs are aware that just getting ATCOs off the shelf is not the same as requiring 100 new B738/A320 pilots and filling the vacancies quickly with little conversion required.
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Old 20th Jun 2020, 10:24
  #83 (permalink)  
 
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Intertwined

Not sure I totally agree. NATS is only semi commercial and is part of critical national infrastructure. The security , safety and continuity of sovereign airspace is not the same, however I absolutely expect there to be significant job losses.
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Old 20th Jun 2020, 20:44
  #84 (permalink)  
 
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But there will be no losses until May 2021, when the current agreement will expire, unless management wants to payout in line with this, and its associated costs, then operational and the higher paid staff should be safe. Hopefully by May 2021 traffic will recover to a level that it would be impossible to make any member of staff redundant without affecting the operation. Of course, training may be stopped at any unit that makes a member of staff redundant as how can you say you don't need a member of staff while training a new one. Really think this is a kneejerk reaction from senior management as they wish to be seen doing something, but the longterm damage has exceeded any benefit. I think there are people in senior positions who should resign because of the complete mismanagement shown here.
terrain safe is online now  
Old 21st Jun 2020, 09:05
  #85 (permalink)  
 
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I hope so too but: The agreement they want to ditch applies to CR only doesn't it? What if NATS let it be known they will be making people compulsorily redundant from next May. In the meantime they offer VR at much reduced rates to those of a few years ago. There may well be plenty of staff with many years service that would take the offer knowing they may get little after May. As I said upthread, BA/VIR pilots probably thought they were safe 6 months ago and look where they are now-ATCOs are no different unfortunately except for the ability to replace quickly.
Only time will tell if this is mis-management but I suspect any replacements may well be far more ruthless than someone whose brother is actually an ATCO and probably gets a good insight to the operation. Be careful what you wish for.
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Old 23rd Jun 2020, 20:56
  #86 (permalink)  
 
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The line that NATS management have decided to take over working together and withdrawal from the current redundancy agreement must be questionable. It is my understanding that Enroute charges are levied by Eurocontrol and then distributed to member nations including UK NATS according to an agreed formula. Unless the mechanism has been changed since I left, the charges are around 12 months or more in arrears. Therefore NATS should not experience the loss of revenues until early 2021 at the earliest. This also ties in with the withdrawal from the redundancy agreement also in early 2021. NATS have suspended their DB pension contributions for at least 3 months, strange if they are not yet in a significant revenue loss. I feel that this may be part of a much larger plan to downsize the operation and move away from working together to a style more akin to BA
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Old 24th Jun 2020, 08:30
  #87 (permalink)  
 
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As soon as traffic started to drop off, it was agreed that airlines would not have to pay those fees owed from last year, so ANSPs across Europe are not getting the revenue they were expecting. There is a loan agreement now in place for Eurocontrol to pay up to 50% (I think - this is off the top of my head) of what was owed by airlines to ANSPs, and the remainder that was going to be paid this year is deferred to next year. ANSPs are hurting now.

Devil's advocate view is that, yes, while NATS senior management appear to have handled it poorly (i.e. why not give the union, say, a week's notice of withdrawing from the redundancy terms agreement?), if you were in charge what else could you have done? If you're trying to persuade the Govt. to prop you up, they sure as hell are going to ask what you've done as an organisation to try and put yourself in the best possible position in terms of financial viability.
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Old 25th Jun 2020, 11:50
  #88 (permalink)  
 
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But it's the way it's done that is crucial and helps to keep the mindset that "we're all in this together". All it needed was a grown up conversation with the unions to give a warning and reasoning of the decision. I thought one of the pillars of Working together was that would be no surprises from either side. Indeed it may well have made the conversation with the Govt easier by going to it knowing you've covered all the bases first.
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Old 25th Jun 2020, 20:43
  #89 (permalink)  
 
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250KTS has hit it on the head. When asked what the company has achieved they could have said, by lots of voluntary actions by staff, we have saved x million and everyone is on board with saving the company. Instead of which we have a situation where they can say, next May we can get rid of staff cheaper, and we've wound them up a bit. No savings ATM though. Oh, and if we get busy again, we have no overtime agreements so delays will go up if anyone is sick.

Anyone externally looking at the company would go "how stupid are you?". We have a union that works well with management. But they and we are hacked off. If they wanted to change the agreement just talk to the union and see what can be done, not act in such an authoritarian way.
terrain safe is online now  
Old 26th Jun 2020, 12:24
  #90 (permalink)  
 
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Originally Posted by 250 kts View Post
But it's the way it's done that is crucial and helps to keep the mindset that "we're all in this together".
But you arent "all in it together". Thats a myth that management have sold to your union for years to prevent any dissent in the ranks. Prospect have always had the name of being very comfortable in management company and have had their belly tickled over the years. Its only at times like this that suddenly realisation hits and actually the reality is that management will screw everybody and anything over if need be "for the good of the business". You're not a valuable team member - you're an expensive asset that is first in the firing line when things get tough. Wake up and smell the coffee folks!

Hopefully that management action will have been the wake up call for Prospect that is long overdue, maybe they'll find the will to actually put up a fight.
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Old 26th Jun 2020, 16:18
  #91 (permalink)  
 
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I was actually referring to the Govt line-not NATS. I think youre being a bit disingenuous towards our reps though. I think generally they put on the pressure when it's needed and that what has led to the salaries, time off and other benefits we enjoy-it doesn't just happen, most of the pressure is behind closed doors and the normal member sees none of the work. We all know it's not going to be perfect but for an organisation that has lost 95% if its' income to still be paying upto 100% of salary with furlough included, it stands among very few I would think.

I'm not sure which fight it is you refer to, but with nearly 100% membership rate and not many seeming to resign, the indications would be that the balance is about right most of the time
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Old 26th Jun 2020, 17:06
  #92 (permalink)  
 
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The hard reality is the salaries, time off and other perks you mention are clearly not sustainable in the current climate, if the union elect to fight this purely to endear themselves to the membership it will end up doing more damage. I’m coming up 8 weeks of furlough, sitting in the sunshine and every day that passes the reality becomes more stark
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Old 26th Jun 2020, 20:56
  #93 (permalink)  
 
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Salaries and other perks will be first in the crosshairs of management I would suggest. Ultimately any large business is run by accountants for one reason - to make profit. NATS is duty bound to show itself as a good investment and to return profits. Simplest way to achieve this when your income stream has taken a hit is to pass the problem onto the workers by reducing company costs - if this means redundancies and reduced T&Cs then that is what will happen. All this teamwork talk will soon be shown for what it was - a box ticking exercise by HR managers to show that they "care" about their workers. Newsflash - they don't. And this applies through all large companies in case anyone thinks I'm having an unfair pop at NATS, its standard practise, the problem is that this is probably the first time that many NATS workers have been exposed to this harsh reality and they can't really understand it. Those of us that have worked both for NATS and other ANSPs have maybe more real life experience than an ATCO that has been sheltered in the NATS bubble for their entire career.

I have many contacts both inside and outside NATS. For as long as I remember, NATS was always the benchmark that other ATCOs aspired to, NATS T&Cs, NATS pensions, NATSAGS covering a multitude of payments that would make others eyes water, and yes, the NATSAG that covered redundancy was unbelievable. I recall NATS ATCOs telling me the amounts they were getting in voluntary redundancy some years ago even though they were planning to retire within 6 months anyway! The amount of seemingly disposable money was unbelievable, when times were good it probably wasn't a big deal - however times have changed. To steal a line - winter is coming.
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Old 26th Jun 2020, 23:52
  #94 (permalink)  
 
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The North Atlantic is over complicated and bureaucratic. Then I realized that Canadians and Brits run it and that explained everything.
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Old 27th Jun 2020, 02:55
  #95 (permalink)  
 
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Are you employed in the industry 4runner? Or just SLF? The NATS is the busiest oceanic airspace in the world and remember, it’s a non-radar environment. If you’re SLF, that means lots of rules required to keep your bottom safe on a crossing.
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Old 27th Jun 2020, 08:28
  #96 (permalink)  
 
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escaped.atco

Nice statement, and much of this I do agree with, but, what fight are you referring to suggesting the unions need to grow some? Your statement suggests an inevitability of losing many key T&Cs. As justbeingnosey alludes to there seems to be an acceptance that this will happen. But there are ways and means to minimise the impact which may hurt staff in the short term but are recoverable over a period. An example is taking a pay cut now that is made up when the situation improves.Another way would be to negotiate that the retired staff get say a 10% reduction in pensions being paid to alleviate the drain on the fund on the guarantee that it is made up later. None of this is either desirable or palatable for either side but clearly cash flow is the biggest issue and any short term action may help guarantee the continued viability of the company
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Old 27th Jun 2020, 08:51
  #97 (permalink)  
 
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Pensions

As neither a retired staff member or a member of caaps I am still astounded that you suggest that retirees could take a 10% reduction in their pensions. They have served their time for caa/NATS and are living on a fixed income. Anyone still working for NATS can choose to not retire at 55 and continue to get a very good income until such time as they are able to retire . Those that have already left have made their decisions based on the figures they have been promised. It is typical of the attitude of some that feel that if they are maybe having to suffer so should everyone else. If the pension scheme were to allow this where is the stability for those in the future if they know that the members of the scheme will just dip into their pensions if times become hard again.
I am realistic enough to know that pay cuts are likely for us all but believe that the pensions being paid already are sacrosanct.
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Old 27th Jun 2020, 11:46
  #98 (permalink)  
 
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I merely put it out there as an option with the caveat that the difference would be made up-something you chose to ignore and not comment upon. I won't repeat it but maybe you should read all of the post and context before having a go.

None of this is nice to deal with but it is reality and if the worst came to pass and NATS became unsustainable the pensions we are all keen to defend to the hilt could be hit considerably harder than the figure I put out there as an example. This is not about everybody suffering or not, but potentially about the very survival of the company. And remember that as of next May there is maybe no enhanced redundancy on offer and so the ability to "continue to work until such time as they are able to retire" may well not be an option for some.

Tough times for all and let's hope we can all get through it relatively unscathed
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Old 27th Jun 2020, 11:57
  #99 (permalink)  
 
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I'm not having a go 250kts but some things will inevitably change. One of the problems Prospect, or any other union in a large organisation will have, is to compromise without capitulating. The nightmare scenario will be agreeing to a pay cut on the premise there will be no job cuts, a year later management say it isn't enough and people have to go. There's an agreement to temporarily shelve NATSAGs, a year later those NATSAGs are no longer affordable to bring back. Etc etc and the rot has set in. Good luck with the suggestion of shafting the pensioners! They've paid into the scheme in good faith and the current pickle is not their making. What I could see happening though is the 9% and 18% contributions being changed. How does 7 and 7 grab you for new starts, maybe even 6 and 6 - sure it won't affect any current employees so why not. A few years later though, the 9 and 18 is no longer affordable so the 7 and 7 is being rolled out across the business. NATS management will be in a position to benchmark themselves against other ANSPs now instead of the other way round. I know what T&Cs some of them have but not all and few even come close to what NATS employees have, particularly pensions.
You only need to look at the reason NATS Solutions came into existence to realise that senior management were only too aware of the unsustainability of bidding with proper NATS T&Cs for new contracts. Don't recall much protest from the proper NATS units that others were being brought into the NATS group under different T&Cs, the same principle will apply now. Rather than bring NATS Solutions up to NATS standards, management will be working out how to reduce NATS to a Solutions model.
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Old 27th Jun 2020, 11:57
  #100 (permalink)  
 
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Your argument is spurious at best! I read the entirety of your post but ignored those parts where you contradicted yourself . As you say letís hope we all get through this but maybe not drag the people who have left the company into it .
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