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Bonding - worthless to the company?

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Bonding - worthless to the company?

Old 2nd Apr 2006, 12:04
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Bonding - worthless to the company?

This is from todays Sunday Tribune in Ireland. It provides some interesting reading on how the courts view bonding arrangements.

Ryanair told to repay money it took from employee for training
Martin Frawley

RYANAIR has been told it was "not fair and reasonable behaviour" to deduct money from the final wages of one of its aircraft engineers in order to recoup the cost of sending him on a training course.

In a ruling published last week, the Employment Appeals Tribunal ordered the airline to pay aircraft engineer, Alan Downey of Naas, Co Kildare, 3,336 in compensation after it left him without any wages for his final spell with the airline.

Ryanair solicitors argued at the tribunal that Downey's signed contract included a clause which allowed Ryanair to recoup training costs of 5,000 if he left the company within two years of the training course.

Downey left within 18 months but told the company that he had "no intention" of repaying the money. But the airline deducted the money from his final wages.

The tribunal said, however, that just because an employee agrees to repay a loan does not entitle the employer to deduct repayments from the employee's wages.

The tribunal said that Ryanair had also breached the Payment of Wages Act by failing to give Downey one week's notice of the deduction.

Ryanair was also in the High Court last week trying to stop 60 of its pilots from having the Impact trade union negotiate wages and conditions on their behalf.

The pilots claimed that the airline had threatened the pilots that if it was forced to engage with the union within five years, then the pilots too would have to repay the 15,000 cost of training them in on new planes.
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Old 2nd Apr 2006, 17:05
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Let's forget the fact that it is Ryanair, which is a company that stirs the emotions. Let's just look at the facts. If I was running a company and I agreed to train up an engineer, pilot, or any other employee with a skill, and I was going to send that person on a course that would cost me money, but would upgrade the qualifiactions of that person, and most likely make him more valuable, I would probably ask that he or she did not leave for a period of X number of months or years, depending on the cost of the course.

Am I being unreasonable?

I can see an argument for saying that yes, I would be unreasonable in asking for that person to stay X number of months/years if there was never any possibility of that staffmember getting a pay increase in recognition of the qualification.But if the pay increased after the said X number of years/motnhs, in effect after I had receovered the cost of the course, surely that is perfectly fair and reasonable, and everyone gains?

On the face of it, the Tribunal got it wrong, from my point of view. The result of rulings like this will be that employers will always ask for staff to go on courses at their own expense, and the drive for improvement will founder. Not everyone has the drive to be a self-improver - lots of us need encouragement from our employers.
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Old 2nd Apr 2006, 19:16
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Could one say therefore that EVERY employee sent on any sort of training course should be bonded? If not EVERY, why only SOME? And what should be the deciding factor? It's an interesting argument. I suspect that in a few years, such bonding will be outlawed. It seems discriminatory, and if there's one thing these days that is a no-no, it is discriminating anybody on grounds of racial group, colour, orientation......and dare one add soon, type of job?
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Old 2nd Apr 2006, 19:57
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Talking as a pilot, and previously an engineer, both an aircraft engineer and in the Telecommunications industry, I can say that this bonding idea is regarded in most non aviation industries as BOLLUX!

I had far more courses and LOADS of training in the telecomms sector. Yes people did move around a bit, but they do in ALL industries! But they also had a high regard for their employer and their employer regarded training as a hugely important part of investing in their MOST important aspect of their business i.e. THEIR PEOPLE.

It is just complete and utter rubbish to think that bonding is OK and reasonable. Running a business is and should be WIN/WIN situation for both employer & employees. Instead of having a child like tantrum every time some one wants to leave the employer should sit down and discover what was wrong, then most would find out it wasn't just the money but a far more adult reason. The short term outlook of these companies never ceases to amaze me. Why haven't the low cost airlines of Europe followed the lead of the true original Low Cost Airline SOUTHWEST and made their people a priority. They all bull**** that they have read "nuts" the story of Southwest and then go on to ignore the advice it so clearly gives.

Bonding is just an excuse to shaft your people and that is the way it will always be perceived because it is not an adult way to treat an employee, it just says from the very beginning "I don't trust you", "I have no respect for you", "to work here is bad so I must shackle you like a slave".

Treat a person like an Adult and you will get an adult response otherwise expect them to walk.
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Old 3rd Apr 2006, 06:41
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As far as my understanding goes, the Tribunal is against taking the whole amount in one go of the final salary with only one week notice.
So if FR would come up with a proposal to pay it in 10 monthly installments it should be no problem for them to recoup the money. So the ruling is interesting, but not groundbreaking.
Thanks for sharing, though.
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Old 3rd Apr 2006, 16:01
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I think this is saying that you can't DEDUCT the money from the guy's salary.

Upshot appears to be that if that Ryanair could still recover its "losses" through a breach of contract action or otherwise.

So no real change then
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Old 3rd Apr 2006, 18:32
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Heres a thought.

Maybe if companies started treating its pilots/eng like it is supposed to with decent salaries, good benefits, nice rostering, then the pilots/eng wouldnt leave. Putting a bond out there to cover training costs is just pure bs. You dont see the militaries, police forces, waste removal, firefighters making their employees pay for training. ( for the most part.....yes I know some do) Instead of constantly trying to pay the lowest wage and this, " your just lucky you have a job" attitude of management, they should start trying to keep what pilots/eng they have, instead of trapping them like animals. Given the chance then the pilots/eng will run from these airlines, because, if they have to have bonds its probably a crappy place to work. The day is comming when there will be a shortage and then the shoe will be on the other foot. Just remember the way youve been treated the last few years when the ball is in your court.

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