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BMI mainline pilots made redundant?

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BMI mainline pilots made redundant?

Old 14th Apr 2012, 17:16
  #41 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: Nov 2007
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Hi

In any other industry if a business carried out its functions in a multiple of locations, be it car production or whatever, and it decided to close its plants at sites 2, 3 and 4 but leave site 1 open, would it not be completely unfair / illegal to sack (or make redundant) a worker at site 1 in order to transfer someone in from one of the other sites just because he had worked for the company for less time?

My thoughts are with those with those facing an uncertain future in these difficult times. I hope that the 90 day notices are a worst case and that as things shake out the future will look a lot brighter.

Litebulbs,

The case you quote is only applicable with a merger. If BMI is kept separate and transfers to BA are offered on an individual basis then people can decide to accept or reject whatever is offered. I suspect many would accept a full BA offer even if this meant going to the bottom of the MSL. BMI would then quickly shrivel to a small rump and could then not be described as a
a major airline with its facilities, aircraft, routes and workforce.
regards
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Old 14th Apr 2012, 17:37
  #42 (permalink)  
 
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binsleepin _ I appreciate your comparison but it still would not work because company B has bought Company A with plants at 1, 2 and 3 - it is then company B - ( the new owner of all plants) which has decided that it is to close plants 1 and 2. Not Company A which no longer exists.

The closure decision is with the new owners
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Old 14th Apr 2012, 18:16
  #43 (permalink)  
 
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Since the age discrimination act of 2006 people cannot be forced to retire at 55, the reverse of the coin is seniority and LIFO are questionable in terms of legality because it discriminates against younger workers. What is not questionable is employment law. If a position is made redundant at plant A and a worker at plant B is made redundant to allow the employee from plant A to relocate to plant B that is illegal because it is the position that is made redundant not the person (I know in reality it's all about the people). The worker who was made redundant was done so to make room for the other worker. The position is not redundant and that is illegal. If BA/IAG/BMI want to close a base they have to give at risk to the affected people and enter consultation. The consultation process is very likely to discuss options in new roles (eg another base) or for some who may want, a redundancy package. I really believe that all will be ok. As for seniority well it's not going to last, easy, Ryanair, Emirates all have got rid of it. What's the solution to the new system for say bids on holiday leave ect? Random computer program? Points awarded due to time worked / productivity maybe.
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Old 14th Apr 2012, 18:48
  #44 (permalink)  
 
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Sir George Cayley
If there are any leased airframes to go back to lessors then QED one needs fewer crew.
It's FAR more clear cut than that! As I already explained, fewer pilots are required!

FREDA
Especially if BA has a current recruitment requirement.
They don't! Recruitment is currently suspended!

If anyone thinks/fears this means 'curtains' for those currently issued with 90 day notices, I strongly suspect there will be slightly better news to follow. In BA there is a strong tradition of pilots sticking together and allowing those wishing to retire to go with a nice golden goodbye. I have little doubt BMI pilots will feel the same.

Good luck to all!
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Old 14th Apr 2012, 19:32
  #45 (permalink)  
 
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Barcli,

In this case though it is a holding company that owns company A and is now buying company B. While they are kept separate the holding company can do whatever it wants to the newly bought company.

This was the case recently when Kraft bought Cadbury's and closed a factory it promised to keep open and transfered production to other factories with spare capacity and cheaper production. see here: Kraft to close Cadbury plant it offered to keep open - Telegraph Those working at the closing factory had no right to the jobs at other Cadbury's factories of employees who had been at the company for a shorter period of time, let alone at other Kraft factories in general.
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Old 14th Apr 2012, 20:16
  #46 (permalink)  
 
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Regarding LIFO etc: bmi went to some length in conjunction with BALPA a couple of years ago when the pilot headcount had to be reduced. A matrix by which redundancies would be made included a performance element along with sickness/attendance criteria so that the legal/HR bods were satisfied that a challenge by a disgruntled pilot made redundant would be able to be defended against. That was agreed between the company and the union and as such formed part of the Agreement For Service (AFS) and the pilots' contract.
I'm not saying whether or not it would stand up in a court of law, etc.- just that an up to date mechanism broadly linked to length of service that was designed to deal with a redundancy situation has been in place at bmi for a while now.
BA have decided that this method will not be used even though they technically don't own the company yet; a by product of which would save them the expense of offering the affected pilots a position at LHR along with the relocation package. Could this be the primary driver in this sorry mess?
BTW, when BA shut down its outstations did it summarily dismiss all of the crews based there, or was a relocation package offered?
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Old 14th Apr 2012, 20:26
  #47 (permalink)  

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the reverse of the coin is seniority and LIFO are questionable in terms of legality because it discriminates against younger workers
But if there is no obvious correlation between age and position in the seniority list, then it can hardly be discriminatory to make decisions based on it. Can it?

In most airline seniority lists these days, this must surely be the case.

That said, I do agree with you and hope that those with "at risk" letters will be re-deployed. I was, when it happened to me.

That said, it seems cruel when the distinction between being a bmi LHR pilot and a bmi BFS pilot has such enormous ramifications.

Likewise, it hardly seems fair for redundancies to have ever been entertained based on the distinction between, say, being a BA 747 pilot and a BA 767 pilot.

We are all pilots. The fact that an airline chooses to base us at one of their bases, or type rate us on one of their types ought not to necessarily prejudice our employment subsequently.
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Old 15th Apr 2012, 06:37
  #48 (permalink)  
 
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LIFO only needs to be shown that the average age of the workers dismissed are younger than average of the employee workforce for it to be discriminatory. At every airline you will find the bottom of the SL is younger than the top. The matrix mentioned gave a primary weighting to service so would again be open to challenge. In every other industry it's clear cut as described in the plant A /B examples. The job of BALPA is to mitigate the loss of any jobs and NOT to transfer one at risk notice from one person to another. It's not nice the way these pilots have been treated but it is normal practice given that their position is being made redundant. They will be consulted now on options such as a new position in the combined ba bmi or if they do not want to move country other options. Seniority is a system which will have to be replaced in our industry as it has in others. All bmi pilots are supporting action to mitigate those at risk positions
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Old 15th Apr 2012, 07:20
  #49 (permalink)  
 
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it hardly seems fair for redundancies to have ever been entertained based on the distinction between, say, being a BA 747 pilot and a BA 767 pilot .
An interesting choice of types. Both will be in decline again at some point relatively soon. So what happens when these fleets are phased out and at the same time BA decide to reduce pilot numbers, due whatever unexpected calamity hits the industry at the time?

What is to stop BA making those pilots redundant as clearly LIFO, on its own, seems to have been rendered impotent, legally?

In a similar vein, what would happen to the BA pilots at Gatwick if it were closed?

If your answer is "LIFO Agreement" be under no illusions it won't be solely based on that when push comes to shove. BMI have an agreement based on LIFO and it's pretty clear what BA have decided is legal regarding that.


Possibly time for ALL pilots in the UK to ensure that their company's redundancy criteria is up to date and workable, and leaves no room for surprises. To discover the pool is limited to certain fleets would be a travesty and a game of Russian Roulette every time you made a fleet bid.
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Old 15th Apr 2012, 08:10
  #50 (permalink)  
 
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Yes, the 747 and 767 will be phased out but they are being replaced by 380s, 777s and 787s.
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Old 15th Apr 2012, 08:11
  #51 (permalink)  
 
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What happens when and if that happens is you take that opening gambit to your union. Which is hopefully sensible enough to realise the company don't care which pilots operate which machines as long as the planned cost reductions are met.

If the union has the right relationship with both members and the company they then discuss which solutions can be amenable to both groups. If the costs can be met the company is happy.

We have to remember this is not personal. It is a business. We are unit costs, with regulatory requirements. If those costs can be met AND avoid industrial action with it's own associated cost, then all are happy!

BA/IAG are not in business to be our friends. The managers are there to make money! If we as a company of pilots decide WE want redundancies based on seniority do you think the company care? As long as its legal (different argument) and achieves the cost base the company wants they can be negotiated with.

In this case, I hope the seniority/LIFO etc arguments are being put to BMI members by their cc which I am sure had the foresight to have a contingency plan for the chance of redundancies as soon as it was mooted there would be a reduction in the IAG slot uptake. With the consequent pressure beimg put on the current pilot numbers. If they didn't... I hope they are now thinking very quickly on their feet.

There is no pleasure to be taken in the misfortune of others. I could so easily be in the shoes of the BMI pilots and may be put in this position in the future. Aviation is a fickle place. We cannot however blame company bosses from doing their job either. A successful business made through those hard nosed decisions is one that maintains job security and the bottom right hand corner of that pay check. Horrible to be so cold but true.

I feel terrible for those currently affected and hope that wise heads manage to reach a position affecting as few as possible while drawing those into a company that is intent on being successful through very tough economic times. The future for all of us under that umbrella may not be rose tinted, that view on aviation should be left with your PPL, but it is definitely brighter.
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Old 15th Apr 2012, 08:53
  #52 (permalink)  
 
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Originally Posted by Ham Phisted
Yes, the 747 and 767 will be phased out but they are being replaced by 380s, 777s and 787s.
I think you are missing the point of some of the posters here.

What they are eluding to, is what will happen when a fleet is downsized/removed. Can the employer then make the outgoing fleet pilots redundant and directly recruit pilots on to the new fleet. Thus removing the more expensive (based on years of service) existing pilots, to recruit cheaper direct entry pilots.

One would think theoretically - not BUT if it can be argued that the existing pilots no longer have the relevant type rating on the new aircraft, then by virtue that they are not qualified to fly the new type, they become surplus to requirements, unless they get the type rating themselves.

The Unions will be brought in to consult about mitigating positions but if the intention of the employer is to start stripping out the seniority list of the more expensive staff, then I would imagine there is little that the Unions can do. Even if the 6 month recruitment window of compulsary redundant staff was enforced, if the Company was sufficiently over crewed to be able to maintain the flying programme for 6 months, it would negate this possible recall option of the displaced staff.

This is becoming a hot potato and the possibilities for the penny pinching bean counters are just coming to light. With WW and a crack team spending their days just thinking up new ways to reduce costs, these sort of discussion are going to become more and more prevalent and Unions are going to have to up their defense teams with equally sharp minds to remain one step ahead!
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Old 15th Apr 2012, 09:06
  #53 (permalink)  
 
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What they are eluding to, is what will happen when a fleet is downsized/removed. Can the employer then make the outgoing fleet pilots redundant and directly recruit pilots on to the new fleet. Thus removing the more expensive (based on years of service) existing pilots, to recruit cheaper direct entry pilots.
No. Employment law is quite clear about this, you cannot make some one redundant and then replace them, the argument about fleets is a red herring in this case.

BMI have an agreement based on LIFO and it's pretty clear what BA have decided is legal regarding that.
It may be a minor point but BA have not made these decisions regarding BMI, it is IAG. BA will not have control until BA takes over BMI. So please castigate the correct organisation.
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Old 15th Apr 2012, 09:44
  #54 (permalink)  
 
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Besides, where would we find the hundreds of long-haul wide body pilots with sufficient experience to jump straight onto a 777 or 380? The last recruitment drive fell short of suitable 744 DEPs and the traditional route into the company is via the 737 or 320 fleets.
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Old 15th Apr 2012, 09:50
  #55 (permalink)  
 
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I less inclined to call it as you see it Juan Tugoh.

I have friends in other industrys that have been made redundant because their industries legislated that they were required to have a particular qualification on a certain date. As they did not ave this qualification, they were made redundant and others that had the same job title but had actually passed the exam were employed to replace them.

Hence I think that the employment laws are slightly skewed. I agree a like for like re-employment by someone else with the "same qualifications" would not be allowed but if the new staff member actually had different and relevant qualifications (such as the new aircraft type rating) then this I believe would effectively fit the scenario I mention above and possibly the existing "non type rated" pilot may be displaced legitimately.

Feel free to discuss...

I would suggest though that either test cases, factual experiences or the actual words of the law be used rather than gut feelings to verify a particular view point would be helpful.
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Old 15th Apr 2012, 09:51
  #56 (permalink)  

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One would think theoretically - not BUT if it can be argued that the existing pilots no longer have the relevant type rating on the new aircraft, then by virtue that they are not qualified to fly the new type, they become surplus to requirements, unless they get the type rating themselves.
If companies in the City started getting rid of secretaries because they happened to be working on Apple Mac's not PC's, there'd be uproar. Especially if the secretaries were only working on those machines because they'd been told to.

The law is an a** if it allowing companies to get rid of pilots because they happen not to be rated on the right type.

How on earth could anyone decide what was the right type?

The same applies to bases.

BA certainly recruit Direct Entry Pilots. Sometimes there is a requirement for a certain type, but more often than not, aside from an hours requirement, any pilot gets a go.

They then push you onto a type that you may or may not fly.

To then want to get rid of you because you happen to be on that type, seems to me to be more arbitrary than should be defensible in law.

That being the case, the law needs working on.

It doesn't take long going down this path, before one can imagine a scenario where even legacy pilots are totally responsible for the cost of their ratings.

WW has been spending too much time with MOL.
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Old 15th Apr 2012, 10:18
  #57 (permalink)  
 
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The two main points that seem to be being discussed here are the redundancy and the prospect of BMI remaining a subsidiary.
Having been involved in a BA subsidiary in the past, there are a couple of things I can throw into the pot for consideration.
Once this becomes the responsabillity of BA, they already have existing well tested methods and agreements for dealing with this sort of thing.
Firstly, they will not be able to run a subsidiary company with any aircraft type carrying more than 100 pax unless this type is not the same type that in already operated by existing mainline crew (long established union agreement)
Secondly, they operate a system that makes staff redundant in the exact way that BMI seem to be proposing already ie, seniority only applies within your base.
You are afforded protection in line with your joining date and fleet, but only at your existing base, so if they close your base, or dispose of your fleet at your base, you may only bid for what may be available elsewhere. If there is nothing available or suitable, you are redundant. Been there, seen it, got the tee shirt!
I have no doubt that BA will be happy to look at employing most if not all the BMI crews, but if they are forced to apply individually, they will only join as new starters with no seniority, and as new FO's.
You have my sympathy guy's and girls, it's an awful place to be.
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Old 15th Apr 2012, 10:22
  #58 (permalink)  
 
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Perhaps this is something that needs to be written in to pilots "Agreements For Service" and verified by employment solicitors that "In a redundancy situation, a pilot will not be prejudiced by current fleet or lack of type rating"?

The discussion on base redundancy determination is still up for debate as to whether it has any validity. As someone has already stated, there may already be precidence with the Kraft case but I would need to read the actual details before being able to comment on it.
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Old 15th Apr 2012, 11:12
  #59 (permalink)  
 
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There is of course the TUPE / Non-TUPE argument.

The final outcome of contractual issues, I suspect, will boil down to whether or not this is viewed as TUPE or not.

Not going to get tied up in the why's and wherefore's as Im not a solicitor. However, all I know is it can make a significant difference.

That is all.

Good luck to all those affected. Its never a nice situation to be in.
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Old 15th Apr 2012, 12:33
  #60 (permalink)  
 
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Somebody else who clearly can't be bothered to read the thread.

My sincere best wishes to the BMI guys. Talking from experience it's a torrid time, but it will get better.
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