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Poll: BALPA's Performance - Vote

Terms and Endearment The forum the bean counters hoped would never happen. Your news on pay, rostering, allowances, extras and negotiations where you work - scheduled, charter or contract.
View Poll Results: Pilots perception/experiences of BALPA's performance?
BALPA Member - Considering ending membership.
170
18.97%
BALPA Member - Not impressed / No alternative.
146
16.29%
BALPA Member - They could do better but content.
168
18.75%
BALPA Member - Very Impressed.
76
8.48%
Former member - Cancelled due cost / not value for money.
38
4.24%
Former member - Cancelled due bad experience.
86
9.60%
Former member - Cancelled out of touch / not effective
93
10.38%
Never had membership - Impressed
11
1.23%
Never had membership - Not impressed.
108
12.05%
Voters: 896. This poll is closed

Poll: BALPA's Performance - Vote

Old 7th Mar 2010, 21:40
  #81 (permalink)  
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Join Date: Jul 2007
Location: In the clouds above
Posts: 260
OK, quite a few bits to cover so here goes, I'll deal with them in reverse order as its easier for me scrolling down and back up.

Airbus Girl - Quite a few good points you make, certainly something that I hope will be a catalyst for further discussion going forward. I do agree with you that our industry is very "self" orientated. Militancy among unions in the UK (ruling out the RMT and Post Office) has generally been left in the 70's and 80's.

Captplaystation - nobody complained or insinuated bias, JB007 posted based on his personal experiences and perception, WWW posted a statement that is incorrect alongside his personal opinions. Some new to PPRuNe may give comments posted by a moderator more credence than others.

al446 - I don't think I can close a thread, however if I did I wouldn't for the following reasons:

While I agree that it would be better all round if this poll was watertight, I would point you to review the point I made about error factor in post #68. Can any straw poll ever be? I feel I have placed enough disclaimers and warnings to anyone reading this.

If I placed a disclaimer then every thread would need one to advise that posters may not be who they claim to be or have a specific agenda.

The poll went live on the 18th of Feb, plenty of posts of all views were made before then. I asked if it was possible to switch to a vote thread to make it easier for all to vote as I felt those who had a negative perception of BALPA were more likely to comment than those who had a positive view (human nature is 1:20). By making it more inclusive I hoped to get a true view as I assumed and found there is a good percentage who are generally happy with BALPA's performance. Catch 22, Damned if I do, damned if I don't.

I brought the potential to alter the vote to light and posted it publicly. Counter productive and leaves this thread open to assault, however upfront and furnishing anyone reading this with full facts to allow them to make a measured approach to its findings. I point you to a comment made by ezydriver on the Easyjet thread.

"if people were to look at this unscientific poll and pick it to pieces without even thinking about its results then to me it is clear their heads are in the sand".

I trust in my peers that they will evaluate all points of view and findings before formulating a position or view.

Anyone lacking moral fibre to influence this vote would have to be pretty committed and tend to post at the extremes. I would suggest that the not impressed/not alternative and content voters would be pretty accurate.

Also throughout the poll, the percentage breakdown has remained roughly the same (except first day while it balanced itself and enough votes were cast).

I think one thing to be learned is you can never keep everyone happy and nothing is perfect.

Edit: 08/03 23:00 to alter response to cps.

Last edited by Dreamshiner; 8th Mar 2010 at 22:15.
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Old 7th Mar 2010, 22:00
  #82 (permalink)  
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Join Date: Apr 1998
Location: err, *******, we have a problem
Age: 54
Posts: 1,335
Number of Years Flying 22 (19 professionally, 16 current employer)
Current Status/Employer Captain, British Airways
Option Selected BALPA Member, very impressed
Supporting Reason for Selection: Outlined below.....

.....Well, there's the rub. If you'd asked me ten years ago, my answer would have been different. In that time I've come to realise that BALPA is us, it is the sum total of those who choose to stand up and represent us from within our (airline pilots as a whole) ranks, the sum of their intellect, motivation and negotiating skills.

Currently, my CC is quite simply the best I have seen, with a wealth of talent, some seriously sharp people, and a realistic approach to negotiating within the current climate. Yes, that does involve a bit of give-and-take, but it also involves a degree of realism. For example, my CC is on record as stating that it wishes to be in place beside the company when decisions are being made, the better to influence them and avoid the issue (we may have had recently, leading to a disagreement) of decisions being made and then presented to the workforce as fait accompli, with no room for negotition. Indeed, the giving of room would be seen as a weakness in management, so therefore positions entrench and we all lose.

As to big BALPA, well, much as I want my family on the jumpseat again I have enough contacts there to know what they are up against. The global issues that affect us all tend by their nature to meet with similar Governmental resistance and need a strong, effective and connected lobbying group to work the corridors and make change happen. Whilst I can't say I'm altogether 100% happy with the legislative environment I work within, I would hesitate to lay that at the door of BALPA, as they are as Sisyphus pushing an establishment rock uphill, and in order to get that rock over the top it will require a great degree of solidarity combined with the above, as well as a degree of acquissence from "The Man." Given the nature of the business, I'm not sure that solidarity exists, and the acquissence is not forthcoming for any number of politally-entrenched reasons, so therefore am unwilling to blame BALPA for any lack of progress just yet.

And, yes further to previous comments, I'm a moderator, but this ain't my named forum (though I do hold a remit over the entire site,) I'm off duty and these are my opinions; we are, believe it or not, allowed to have opinions, we just don't let them affect the moderation. For example, whilst I would have phrased it drastically differently, I agree 100% with WWW about Pay-To-Fly; basically, a union can shout as much as it likes and as loud as it likes but as long as there exist people willing to pay to sit in the right hand seat of an airliner to gain a type-rating, then it will continue, simple market economics dictate that fact. If people stopped paying, it would stop overnight. Unfortunately, and historically, Homo Sapiens Piloticus is not, by nature, given to altruism when it tends towards the greater good of the profession, particularly when something big and turbine-powered is involved.

How can BALPA legislate against that, which is essentially a market economics argument?

Anyway, that's where I stand. As with all these issues, the response is by nature partisan, and related to one's own experience/current environment. Were I in a different place, different life- aviation-experiences, then my answer would perhaps be different.

Squid

(Edit: I've just had to lie down in a darkened room; I realised how big the number 22 is. Was it really 22 years ago I first started my PPL at my local flying club? It was. Even worse, it's 31 years since my first flying lesson, a Christmas present, aged 12. Those numbers hurt.)
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Old 10th Mar 2010, 06:45
  #83 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: Dec 2007
Location: England
Age: 53
Posts: 19
I am pressed for time but would just like to respond quickly to the post of sick squid. Principally because, more or less, it seems to encapsulate the logic from those in the satisfied group.

My difficulty with your position is that it ignores many of the posts that have challanged this view. I would refer damp squid to (amongs others) the post #31 of clanger32 or my post #62 (para 2,3 and 4).

I would invite damp squid to address those points directly. (rather than just repeating the "well its all down to the members" line). I would be interested in hearing your reply.
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Old 10th Mar 2010, 07:33
  #84 (permalink)  
jumpjet7
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4Star

I don't have any answers really just observations. Pilots are stable extraverts which probably means our personality traits appear to an outsider as very confident, selfish type A personalities. Not naturally carers and sharers.

I'm lucky to have worked for a good operator for 23 years with one of the best company councils. We have always attracted quality characters onto the cc maybe because it's an alternative career path for some. Thats great as long as you have a large enough gene pool and a company that rosters the cc time to negotiate, although most time is donated at the council members expense.

My company has been stable for many decades with long periods of time to command, excepting the last credit fuelled few years which has seen quick commands followed by redundency. Traditionally we accepted jobs knowing of time to command. This has led to many taking roles in management, training and cc duties prior to command. Instant gratification being replaced by the long game. I believe this culture has led to an enviroment where we look after each other. Not perfect at times but nearly five decades of industry leading conditions.

Currently we are enduring a war of attrition with managment, our only credible defence comes from the cc who are holding out. How you get an effective cc into every company I have no idea. It does seem big Balpa is ineffective with smaller or newish companies. Going back a few decades directors were ex, or current Balpa members. How times change.
 
Old 18th Mar 2010, 21:31
  #85 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: Mar 2008
Location: manchester
Age: 66
Posts: 452
why does this thread always keep on top and show latest post as today when it was ages ago? I keep expecting to see something new but same old posts. Can a mod answer please.
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Old 18th Mar 2010, 23:05
  #86 (permalink)  
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al446,

Been keeping my eye on this thread as discussed earlier, it appears whenever someone votes it has the same effect as posting therefore placing it to the top of the list. By subscribing to the thread you'll be notified if anyone writes something.

I hoped the debate would have continued as vigorously as it did initially as there have been a number of worthwhile points made from both sides of the fence.
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Old 19th Mar 2010, 01:56
  #87 (permalink)  
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Posts: 2,131
Yes, the thread is contributed to by a simple vote in the poll or by an additional post. Either event will return the thread to the top of the forum.

I am not a particular fan of polls for a number of reasons, some of which have been alluded to in this thread already. However in accordance with the thread originators request it was compiled and attached. It will automatically close 60 days after inception (around the 19th April) unless there is a compelling reason to either curtail it earlier or extend it. At that freeze point it will remain visible to view, but only new posts will then affect the thread ranking.
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Old 19th Mar 2010, 20:21
  #88 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: Feb 2005
Location: uk
Posts: 4
totally understand the pressure that balpa reps are under but in this day and age who isn't add to the fact that we are all paying a lot of money for the 'service'.......................why do i have to bark if i have a dog?

Last edited by tobes; 19th Mar 2010 at 21:26. Reason: spelling
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Old 20th Mar 2010, 23:41
  #89 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: Jun 2002
Location: Wor Yerm
Age: 64
Posts: 0
Tobes - When dealing with your own company, BALPA Reps. are only able to give your CC guidance as to where and when YOU should bark. Negotiation skills and training are one of the things you pay for with membership fees. So it's your job to ask your CC (assuming you are a member) to request XYZ on your behalf.

What this thread has highlighted more than anything else is pilots' misunderstanding of exactly how BALPA works within their companies and why it has to work in the way it does. I also believe that on a national BALPA should be more vociferous about P2F and security issues, but hey, like the rest of you, I'm thinking me and about my next month's pay and there BALPA is giving me value for money.

PM
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Old 25th Mar 2010, 12:21
  #90 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: Aug 2000
Location: SW England
Age: 66
Posts: 1,274
Number of Years Flying 35

Current Status/Employer Onshore single-pilot heli, ATPL(H), Bond Air Services

Option Selected Former member - Cancelled out of touch / not effective

Supporting Reason for Selection Joined BALPA prior to leaving the RAF on the strong recommendation of a colleague who had his career/sanity saved by BALPA's legal team after a (downright malicious) CAA prosecution for illegal low flying was virtually laughed out of court. Encouraged by the ability of BALPA and my first civvie employer to work together to produce terms of service which became pretty much the onshore industry's Best Practice norm.

Lost faith when our CC approached BALPA with a request for assistance with the "age 60" rule for single-pilot ops. After a long period with a noticeable lack of response, the CC received a typo-laden short message which showed BALPA's lack of real knowledge of the police/air ambulance/lighthouse support industry. Equalled only by the lack of any real interest.

Did some homework, realised that the onshore heli pilot workforce element of BALPA only comprised probably <1% of the membership and was therefore unlikely to make any headway against the Nigels. Further homework revealed that equivalent legal cover is available elsewhere, so left - giving reasons. Never did hear back from them, even after I wrote a follow-up email a year later to see if their policies regarding onshore heli pilots had changed.
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Old 7th Apr 2010, 16:12
  #91 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: Jun 2003
Location: Preferably on terra firma.
Posts: 734
There is a major test coming in the next few weeks for Balpa within easyJest. The outcome will no doubt have a significant impact on membership levels, one way or the other. The members have had enough and have made it quite clear to the CC that a line in the sand has been drawn. The next move may well decide Balpa's fate and the future of the airline industry as a whole.

And no, I'm not making an overstatement.
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Old 22nd Apr 2010, 08:46
  #92 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: Apr 2002
Location: _
Posts: 350
Experienced at what? BALPA membership? Flying? Representing yourself in a court of law when you've no legal backup?
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Old 22nd Apr 2010, 09:39
  #93 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: Jan 2007
Location: Tracey Island
Posts: 1,496
I would have thought the intelligent action to be fight from within. Put yourself up for election and do something about it. Too many people 'Vote with their feet' as an excuse not to put any effort in....
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Old 22nd Apr 2010, 10:28
  #94 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: Apr 2005
Location: U.K.
Age: 64
Posts: 376
BALPA and contaminated air....

BALPA and Cabin Air Quality - Five years on

Conclusions on the chronic ill health effects of BALPA members from Jim McAuslan, General Secretary - April 21st 2005, at the end of the CAQ conference in London.

Make your own conclusions.....

DB
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Old 22nd Apr 2010, 10:42
  #95 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: Feb 2006
Location: Mother Earth
Posts: 180
I often wonder why people blame Balpa every time a company does something to erode T&C's, does anyone think to blame the company and perhaps support your representatives in influencing the company. The airlines with the best T&C's around the world generally have high union membership enabling a strong bargaining position. Are there times when I felt my reps didn't or couldn't help, probably but on the whole they work for the advancement of all our terms and conditions, at times that may not suit me personally, but I try to view this as a long term game over many years. If you are disgruntled, get involved and be an influence, don't walk away or you are playing into managements hands.
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Old 22nd Apr 2010, 13:07
  #96 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: Jun 2006
Location: Guildford
Age: 46
Posts: 359
Stakeknife,
What an interesting and well thought post (and actually, I'm not being sarcastic!).

You are very right, I suspect, that most people read "didn't do something *I* wanted done" as a personal sleight and then run away. However, I think it's probably a fair assessment that most that occupy the pointy end of commercial aircraft have a reasonable intellect. Therefore, most should be able to comprehend the concept that sometimes things for the greater good, cause - however unpalatable it might be - personal circumstances to deteriorate.

The problem, however comes if the picture of the greater good is not represented accurately or completely. The second problem comes if one only ever perceives that ones own circumstances are deteriorating and is not gaining any of the "benefit" to others.

Personally, as I have mentioned previously, I think Balpa is dangerously out of touch and has allowed itself to become a franchise model, whereby each company CC represent THAT company. There is no model to represent pilots as a whole. This in turn has allowed the huge variation of Ts&Cs - which in turn ALWAYS provides evidence to the companies offering the best conditions that they can provide worse conditions...which of course leads to the race to the bottom.

Personally I am a qualified, but inexperienced and - if reluctant truth be told - unlikely to ever work as a professional pilot now, due to a masterpiece of timing of my training (graduated Dec 08). So I do feel qualified to say that as a former student member (or whatever they called us) of BALPA, there is simply no value in the organisation [specifically talking of the needs of the newly qualified]. I have not seen BALPA do anything at all to help us at the lowest end of the food chain. We HAVE no CC in which to get involved to improve things and things in BALPA towers seem utterly unconcerned by us, as our fees are notional only. Therefore, we are reliant on "big" Balpa, to do stuff - as perceived appropriate by those who ARE working pilots for the long term benefit of the profession - on our behalf.
This is half the problem...it's not just the oft trotted "Balpa is the BA pilots union" it's that each CC can barely influence their own company, so stomach for a fight on behalf of faceless students, other companies and unemployed but experienced pilots is tending to zero...
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Old 22nd Apr 2010, 14:32
  #97 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: Mar 2009
Location: Richmondshire
Age: 63
Posts: 57
Firstly, Clanger32, I'm very sorry your training appears to have come to nothing. It's a sad fact of life where individuals elect to put themselves through training there's a significant chance there won't be a job at the end of it. If you're heart's still in it, don't give up. I'm sure many of us who've been in the industry for a while will have come across stories of pilots breaking into the airline world after a significant flying hiatus after training. I remember chatting to a BAe146 Capt a few years ago; he trained in the early 90's and it took 6 years to get any sort of flying job. But your bad timing isn't BALPA's fault. In reality a union can only change things when it has someone to engage with - i.e. an employer. CC means Company Council and the clue is in the title!


Stakeknife's post is spot on. If more pilots took his mature and considered outlook, the profession would be in a much stronger position. Unfortunately pilots in general tend to be self-centred individuals who can't look beyond their own bank balance. Witness the regularity of the BALPA didn't do this me, BALPA didn't do that for me, yada yada yada. For a bunch of intelligent individuals, pilots are remarkably short signed and many are fuelled by greed and envy.
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Old 22nd Apr 2010, 15:03
  #98 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: Apr 1999
Location: In front of a computer
Posts: 1,957
the regularity of the BALPA didn't do this me, BALPA didn't do that for me,
Strangely the "BALPA" referrred to here doesn't exist.

We are BALPA.

Just your fellow pilots sticking their necks out to try to counter the airlines wilder plans to have us all fly for free. The disgruntled pilot who blames us for failing almost never directs his anger at the managers responsible for eroding the terms and conditions. Easier to blame "the reps" (or colleagues as they are also called) then resign or refuse to get involved.

The fragmented nature of this industry and competing views of it's crews will never lead to unity but we can all do our bit to support the only credible body around.

I dread to think what things would be like without the efforts BALPA have put in over the last 25 years and I support my reps fully.
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Old 22nd Apr 2010, 16:08
  #99 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: Jun 2006
Location: Guildford
Age: 46
Posts: 359
Barden,
Firstly many thanks for your sympathy. I was not digging for or even hoping for such as a by product - merely stating a fact. I always knew that when I started training I was older than ideal and that there were no guarantees even in a good market. I'm very glad I did it, actually, because at least I gave my dream ((tm) - every wannabe, ever) my best shot - I can honestly say there's nothing I could really have done differently that would have made a difference. I know that come the final reckoning I won't have to wonder "what if I'd given it a go....". It was just unfortunate timing, but thems the breaks. At least I didn't bankrupt myself to do it!

However, the point I was trying to relate when talking about my own position is purely that for those who are NOT flying regularly for an organisation, Balpa can't form a CC. Therefore I (and any others in my or a similar situation) CAN'T get involved and CAN'T help to improve things (picking up on stakeknifes post). Balpa - IMHO - do nothing whatsoever to help aviation as a whole and I feel strongly they'd do their OWN cause a huge amount of good if they would organise a body - a cross industry cc if you like - that functioned across ALL airlines that represented the needs and views of the industry as a whole - including all of us...the experienced and working, experienced but out of work, newly qualified and working, newly qualified and yet to find work and those training. Who would they engage with? The CAA. EASA. The government....this industry desperately needs someone to fight to stop the things that are independent of compant, but that affect every facet of aviation - FCL, FTL, P2F etc. Balpa is the only obvious choice to do this, but currently it is set up to ONLY react to individual airline fights and serve those who are currently working...and inevitably this leads to the industry idetiorating and a feeling of disenchantment with the union as a whole from those that the union [appears to have] distanced itself from.
On the rest of your post, I wholeheartedly agree - I suspect our views are very similar overall...
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