Go Back  PPRuNe Forums > Flight Deck Forums > Rumours & News
Reload this Page >

NATS Redundancies

Rumours & News Reporting Points that may affect our jobs or lives as professional pilots. Also, items that may be of interest to professional pilots.

NATS Redundancies

Old 27th Jun 2020, 17:43
  #101 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: Oct 2018
Location: far far away
Posts: 68
I'm not trying to pick holes in other peoples opinions, we're all entitled to see things from our own particular perspective. Yes, I've had goalposts moved during my career, final salary pension changed to money purchase, money purchase amounts changed to name a few. OT agreements changed, working practises changed. It happens across every industry, all I've been trying to say is that some NATS employees will never have seen any upheaval or change in their career, some have had very long careers and believe that they will retire without any hassle and that the company views them as essential to a successful business.

Future dividends fall into that unfortunate category of business and profit. If NATS suddenly said theres no dividend for the next several years, however we will continue to honour all current agreements and T&Cs even though they are way more generous than any other ANSP, shareholders will start asking awkward questions. Perhaps thats why such an important piece of country infrastructure might be better as a government role - not that it'll be run any better - just that a continuous profit isn't required regardless of the circumstances.
escaped.atco is offline  
Old 27th Jun 2020, 20:07
  #102 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: Dec 1999
Location: LHR/EGLL
Age: 41
Posts: 4,340
Originally Posted by escaped.atco View Post
Rather than bring NATS Solutions up to NATS standards, management will be working out how to reduce NATS to a Solutions model.
Which is sadly exactly what the airport customers, and airlines, want.

When I described what had happened a few weeks ago regarding NATSAG01 to a friend who works for a UK international airport and is very familiar with NATS, the response was 'Welcome to the real world'. Imagine working for an airport where maybe 60% or more of operational staff are currently being made redundant, and those that are left already had their pay cut by up to 30% a few months ago (and those on furlough are getting the Govt. minimum payment based on their new, lower salary), while their jobs are being merged with those in different departments to ensure that the role changes by more than the minimum forcing everyone to apply, rather than just keep their old job. And if I was in that position, and in the lucky few who have remained in employment, amongst my now-doubled workload is the task of re-negotiating the ATC contract. Where so far, apart from contractors, the worst that's happened is the company have served the previously-agreed 1 year's notice period for withdrawing from the redundancy payment agreement, I wonder what I'd be thinking?
Gonzo is offline  
Old 27th Jun 2020, 23:09
  #103 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: Oct 2018
Location: far far away
Posts: 68
I know exactly what any other normal person would be thinking! Something along the lines of “What planet are these deluded ATCOs on!”. That’s probably the polite response.

Which all poses another snag for Prospect, sympathy from public and indeed other aviation colleagues will be limited at best, more than likely non existent. We read daily about hundreds of aircrew redundancies and pay cuts, try telling them your sob story about the redundancy NATSAG. Good luck with that!
escaped.atco is offline  
Old 28th Jun 2020, 07:32
  #104 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: Feb 2004
Location: T.C.
Age: 52
Posts: 238
This current situation is definitely an excellent opportunity for NATS to re-asses and re-evaluate the ďbusinessĒ. There is a huge non valid support network, how many of these are essential and also could be employed as and when on a contract basis.

i still donít believe NATS can afford to cut ATCO numbers, not after the last 2 years have been run with constant overtime. Factor in the number of impending retirements, and IF all the trainees validate controller numbers wIíll break even. Yes some working practices can be changed and need to, plus there is an opportunity to utilise valid ATCO skills more.

The latest news from the travel industry would indicate the publicís appetite for travel is very high. Traffic could ramp up very quickly.
Nimmer is offline  
Old 28th Jun 2020, 09:09
  #105 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: Aug 2000
Location: Costa del Swanwick
Posts: 805
I know this is probably too sensible, but I wonder if NATS have actually bothered to ask their staff what their retirement intentions might be. If they haven't maybe that would be a good place to start. Or the TUs could initiate a survey unilaterally.
250 kts is offline  
Old 28th Jun 2020, 11:34
  #106 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: Oct 2018
Location: far far away
Posts: 68
Way too sensible and also in this crazy time we live in, probably against some human rights rules and regulations now theres no official retirement age I believe!?
escaped.atco is offline  
Old 28th Jun 2020, 13:48
  #107 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: Aug 2000
Location: Costa del Swanwick
Posts: 805
It's asking about intentions-no different to asking how you may vote. No commitment having given an answer
250 kts is offline  
Old 28th Jun 2020, 20:42
  #108 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Location: swanwick by sea
Posts: 57
As the DB pension scheme closed around 15 years ago to new employees roughly what percentage of NATS workforce is still on a DB pension? Despite the agreements made at the time of privatisation I am sure that NATS would be looking very closely at closing the scheme to all employees as it is an area that divides the workforce and probably could be pushed through in today’s economic climate.
I agree about freezing future dividend payments. NATS is “a non profit making organisation” where did that go? Public ownership is the only realistic way forward to avoid any more issues related to a downturn in traffic
63000 Triple Zilch is offline  
Old 29th Jun 2020, 20:14
  #109 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: Jan 2001
Location: Deepest darkest Inbredland....
Posts: 554
Under the terms of the PPP the DB scheme cannot be closed to present members except by NATS closing down unless those members agree to it. That is my understanding anyway.

The reason the RA is so good is that if you are a controller, especially in area, and you were made redundant where else could you work? Nowhere in the UK and could be tricky abroad as well as licenses have still not harmonized. Therefore it is a big commitment to work this job despite the relatively good salary. It has no real skills that could transfer to another job so it is expensive to try and provide protection to staff. Comparing to pilots is wrong as if you have a type rating in a 737 you can work in almost any airline in the world and just need a short course to get up to speed on SOPs. ATCOs either need to revalidate somewhere or completely retrain and then revalidate, which is why most countries don't poach ATCOs as it generally is cheaper to start from younger people on lower starting salaries.

Just some thoughts.
terrain safe is offline  
Old 30th Jun 2020, 13:01
  #110 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Location: swanwick by sea
Posts: 57
Terrain safe,You are quite right about the terms of PPP not allowing the DB pension to be changed for existing staff, however we live in a very different world and if that same govt has to financially support NATS I am sure it is a question that would be asked as there are very few DB schemes left operating
63000 Triple Zilch is offline  
Old 30th Jun 2020, 15:10
  #111 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: Oct 2004
Location: Southern England
Posts: 347
There are three ways the DB scheme can be changed. Every single member agrees to the change, an Act of Parliament reverses the protection in the original Transport Act, or NATS goes bust and enters Transport Administration. The first is not going to happen. The second might, for the first time since PPP there is a government with both the inclination and the necessary majority to do it, but it would depend on them finding parliamentary time and they have other pet projects to favour. Even if they change the legislation it is possible that the agreement NATS signed to get previous concessions might still stop them closing the scheme. The third is likely unless either NATS cuts its costs to match its income or finds a generous benefactor willing to stump up the cash.

In the last Annual Report 1990 employees were members of the DB scheme against an average of 4464 employees in total. Those figures are a year old and a new Report is due soon.

NATS would dearly love to close the DB Scheme. It's size relative to the size of NATS means that if the scheme falters because of factors completely outside of NATS control the NATS balance sheet takes a big hit and last year its contribution to each DB Members pension was >40% of pensionable salary. The fact that it hasn't been able to do so is testament to the provision of the protections in the Act for which members can thank the late Lord Brett previously the General Secretary of IPMS, now Prospect.

Public ownership may be the only way forward but if you are an employee be careful what you wish for. Take a look at how public sector worker salaries have fared since 2008 and compare them with those in NATS. It is very likely that public sector workers will be those footing a lot of the bill for the money the government has recently been throwing around.
eglnyt is offline  
Old 2nd Jul 2020, 20:01
  #112 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Location: swanwick by sea
Posts: 57
I see that NATS have today agreed to resume payments to CAAPS and to pay the shortfall for the three months in September. NATS must have also found the magic money tree as well, although it is good news
63000 Triple Zilch is offline  
Old 2nd Jul 2020, 20:39
  #113 (permalink)  
Thread Starter
 
Join Date: Jun 2013
Location: Scotland
Posts: 40
It appears to be based on some agreement, with their European [sic] partners, regards user charges ? As previous posters have suggested, it looks like ( IMHO ) NATS have offered the first “olive branch” in any pending negotiations with Prospect ? Could be wrong and September will probably shed more light. I for one complained strongly to the CAAPS trustees that yet another Pension Holiday could be very damaging, as the last one ( from memory ) was taken because the fund was in surplus ? We all know what happened next. In my heart, I would hope, that many more recipients took a similar stance and the Trustees made our reservations known. I can but hope. It’s going to be a very taxing year, in many different ways. I very much doubt that the profession will be anywhere near the chaotic strike action of the early eighties because there is far more at stake here.
Spambhoy is offline  
Old 2nd Jul 2020, 21:41
  #114 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: Dec 1999
Location: LHR/EGLL
Age: 41
Posts: 4,340
Just to clarify, this wasn't a pension holiday, where the employer is not liable for paying in for a period, but a deferral of payments, which would have all been paid in but at a later date.
Gonzo is offline  
Old 2nd Jul 2020, 23:24
  #115 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: Mar 2010
Location: hampshire
Posts: 10
i still fear for ATSAís like me, 8 years service after re-locating to the region
justbeingnosey is offline  
Old 3rd Jul 2020, 09:18
  #116 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: Aug 2000
Location: Costa del Swanwick
Posts: 805
I feel for you in these times. Support staff must all be feeling vulnerable.
Gonzo is right this is not a holiday like the one in the early 2000s. But it cant be overlooked that the cost to NATS for that holiday was that the abatement rate was significantly improved.
250 kts is offline  
Old 3rd Jul 2020, 09:58
  #117 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: Mar 2000
Location: Scotland
Posts: 71
Originally Posted by Spambhoy View Post
as the last one ( from memory ) was taken because the fund was in surplus ? We all know what happened next.
Like you, I recall that the fund was in surplus, but that the surplus was split between members and the company. So whilst itís true to say/suggest the company benefitted, itís probably also fair to say that members benefitted too through improved accrual rates (again, from memory (?).
Roger That is offline  
Old 4th Jul 2020, 09:56
  #118 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: Aug 2000
Location: Costa del Swanwick
Posts: 805
The accrual rate reduced to 58ths meaning people were fully funded earlier. The impact was of far greater benefit to the members in the long run than it was to NATS in the short term.
250 kts is offline  
Old 4th Jul 2020, 21:03
  #119 (permalink)  
Thread Starter
 
Join Date: Jun 2013
Location: Scotland
Posts: 40
I’d love some clarity on the NATSAG thing ? How can something, which appeared to be enshrined in stone by the late Bill Brett, be cast aside without judiciary ?
Spambhoy is offline  
Old 4th Jul 2020, 22:16
  #120 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: Oct 2004
Location: Southern England
Posts: 347
The pension arrangements were protected in the Transport Act but most terms and conditions weren't. Gordon Brown was desperate to complete the sale but not so desperate that he would accept constraints that would scare off most bidders. The current Redundancy Agreement was introduced when the previous one was considered to fall foul of Age Discrimination Legislation. At the time it was less advantageous to many than the previous agreement but an incentive was offered and the majority voted to accept the new agreement. Part of the agreement allows it to be reviewed at the suggestion of either party, amended by agreement and terminated by either side with one year's notice. NATS has exercised that right.

At the end of the 80s the Government started taxing pension surpluses. The threat to the CAAPS surplus was addressed over a number of agreements aimed at reducing the surplus with the benefit to members being a reduction in the contribution rate and an improvement in the accrual rate. These were in place before PPP and became protected by the legislation. NATS took its share by reducing contributions but as it underwrites the scheme has since paid back a considerable amount to address the deficit whereas the members continue to benefit from their part even though there is no longer a surplus.

Last edited by eglnyt; 5th Jul 2020 at 21:56. Reason: To be fair to Labour although they changed the tax arrangements the tax on surplus predated them
eglnyt is offline  

Thread Tools
Search this Thread

Contact Us - Archive - Advertising - Cookie Policy - Privacy Statement - Terms of Service - Do Not Sell My Personal Information

Copyright © 2018 MH Sub I, LLC dba Internet Brands. All rights reserved. Use of this site indicates your consent to the Terms of Use.