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NATS Redundancies

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NATS Redundancies

Old 27th Jun 2020, 23:09
  #101 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: Oct 2018
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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!
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Old 28th Jun 2020, 07:32
  #102 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: Feb 2004
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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.
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Old 28th Jun 2020, 09:09
  #103 (permalink)  
 
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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.
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Old 28th Jun 2020, 11:34
  #104 (permalink)  
 
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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!?
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Old 28th Jun 2020, 13:48
  #105 (permalink)  
 
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It's asking about intentions-no different to asking how you may vote. No commitment having given an answer
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Old 28th Jun 2020, 20:42
  #106 (permalink)  
 
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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
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Old 29th Jun 2020, 20:14
  #107 (permalink)  
 
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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.
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Old 30th Jun 2020, 13:01
  #108 (permalink)  
 
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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
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Old 30th Jun 2020, 15:10
  #109 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: Oct 2004
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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.
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Old 2nd Jul 2020, 20:01
  #110 (permalink)  
 
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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
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Old 2nd Jul 2020, 20:39
  #111 (permalink)  
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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.
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Old 2nd Jul 2020, 21:41
  #112 (permalink)  
 
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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.
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Old 2nd Jul 2020, 23:24
  #113 (permalink)  
 
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i still fear for ATSAís like me, 8 years service after re-locating to the region
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Old 3rd Jul 2020, 09:18
  #114 (permalink)  
 
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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.
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Old 3rd Jul 2020, 09:58
  #115 (permalink)  
 
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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 (?).
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Old 4th Jul 2020, 09:56
  #116 (permalink)  
 
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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.
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Old 4th Jul 2020, 21:03
  #117 (permalink)  
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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 ?
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Old 4th Jul 2020, 22:16
  #118 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: Oct 2004
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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
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Old 5th Jul 2020, 17:17
  #119 (permalink)  
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Thanks for that.
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Old 9th Aug 2020, 23:40
  #120 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: Aug 2020
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I'm impressed, quite a lot of knowledge about NATS here.
  • So firstly, there are no compulsory redundancies, there is a small risk there might be next year if there are not enough voluntary redundancies. With the generous package I don't think they will be low on uptakes.
  • They are changing the redundancy terms, they cannot come into effect for 12 months due to union negotiations so they'll be ready for any future redundancies.
  • Expecting maybe 350 redundancies from a company of around 5000 employees (but this includes all the branches), controllers are not being offered redundancies as far as I am aware - could change?), as mentioned above it takes years to train them and it would be short sighted.
  • Regarding shares, yes NATS are a private company, most things operate this way now, efficiencies etc. But the UK Government own 49% so it's basically nationalised, just a more efficient and held to account structure. To properly nationalise it now would be pointless, to what benefit. We sell our services all over the world now, the government usually get profit from us every year. To save cash, clearly needed, no dividends are being paid for the foreseeable future - common sense really.
  • Further comment on share dividends, NATS likes to always pay dividends twice a year, they like to keep to the same amount to try to keep the company image as stable as possible (this is my personal opinion I must make clear). My observations of this throughout the years has been that the owners are happy to receive this but usually have other interests. You see NATS is owned by the Gov (I'm sure they don't push hard for dividends as such), 5% for employees and the rest is mostly airlines. So the owners are also our customers, so they are usually more interested in cutting the fees in the first place and especially cutting fuel by improving flight paths and gradual airport descent etc. Ryan air have some opinions on our fees haha
  • We do not control our income, the EU controls our income (well Eurocontrol) so we get whatever they give us based on flight data.
  • Many contractors were let go many months back, mostly project workers, most staff are not allowed on any of our sites, hence catering companies etc don't need as many staff.
  • Immediate finances are improved with the use of furlough. Also the pension is being paid again and fully backdated. Redundancies are going ahead as income is expected to be hit for the next 2 years, just like many companies right now, money out must be balanced with money in.
  • We do have an ageing work force so there is going to be a lot of retired staff in the coming few years, it's been a worry for a while.
  • Someone said there is a bullying culture, that just sounds ridiculous to me, come work for NATS and you'll see a very desirable company, I've been here for over 10 years and see no bullying etc. The thing is, if one person interpret one activity wrongly and thinks it involves bullying then bam all of a sudden the whole company suffers from bullying. Not true at all.
  • Staff (in engineering at least) were asked last year what their retirement expectations were, in answer to a question above. NATS wanted to know who was going soon, in the next 5 years or no current intention. From an engineering point of view many engineers will retire when the equipment they are experts in is replaced, they are at the door of retirement so don't want to invest years learning and working on the new systems - understandable and logical.

These are all my personal opinions and information that is not sensitive and/or publicly available.
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