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seniority lists discussion..... Again!

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seniority lists discussion..... Again!

Old 30th Mar 2020, 07:56
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seniority lists discussion..... Again!

I know this has been beaten to death in the past , however....

Could we use this moment in time to rethink if we as a pilot group should abandon seniority lists.

Any pilot right now has job uncertainty, from the majors to the smallest airline. Thinking your safe in any airline right now would be naive.

If lots of pilots end up being ďavailableĒ , then when the industry picks back up again it would be logical that you could apply to your experience level in any new or old airline.

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Old 30th Mar 2020, 18:32
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Originally Posted by flyhigh55 View Post
I know this has been beaten to death in the past , however....

Could we use this moment in time to rethink if we as a pilot group should abandon seniority lists.
That's a huge step since the concept goes right back to the beginning of commercial aviation. Earnest K Gann wrote frequently about it for instance
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Old 30th Mar 2020, 19:16
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To fire someone based on the spot of the seniority list is some form of discrimination and normally age discrimination is the most obvious one.

I think most airlines would like to fire the top end of the seniority list based on their salaries that are often about 4 to 5 times as high as a junior FO including pension payments. So in that case you have to fire 4 or 5 FOs in order to retain the same amount of cash compared to someone who will be retiring in a few months time.

I don't think it's gonne be a case of just following the 'last in first out' rule. It's gonne be more about salaries and the fleet you are currently flying. Looking at the early retirement of the 74's for example. Re-training onto a different aircraft type is expensive as well.

It's going to be messy for the upcoming few years and jobs will be lost, but again I don't think the seniority list will be the main thing for job losses.

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Old 30th Mar 2020, 21:20
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Airlines wonít have the financial or training capacity to observe strict seniority reinstatement. With some fleets and crew bases shut down, regrettably aircrew on those fleets and bases will be sacrificed.
However, there is a strong case for seniority within a base/fleet to be the basis for re-employment. I canít think of any other way that would be fair.
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Old 30th Mar 2020, 22:04
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Great time to get rid of all airline HR departments or at least retrain them to some productive service area. 😊
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Old 30th Mar 2020, 22:08
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Originally Posted by Chris2303 View Post
That's a huge step since the concept goes right back to the beginning of commercial aviation. Earnest K Gann wrote frequently about it for instance
And Earnest K Gann had nothing good to say about it, all that time ago.
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Old 30th Mar 2020, 22:20
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Originally Posted by NoelEvans View Post
And Earnest K Gann had nothing good to say about it, all that time ago.
I didn't say the concept was a good one.........
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Old 30th Mar 2020, 22:22
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I know, I'm just helping to add information.
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Old 30th Mar 2020, 22:23
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Seniority is by no means perfect however..
As pilots we make many decisions that non flying managers do not like or understand. Some of those decisions cost a lot of money (in the short term) and interrupt schedules. Carrying adfitional fuel, writing up an unserviceability at a port with no engineering coverage (as regs require), refusing an aircraft with multiple MEL's, diverting due weather, calling fatigued.
Often seniority will limit management to target individuals who are perceived as trouble makers. It can give us the confidence to do our job well without fear or favour.

That is a good thing.

Last edited by The Banjo; 30th Mar 2020 at 22:27. Reason: .
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Old 31st Mar 2020, 06:59
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Anyone who thinks getting rid of seniority is a good idea is not vey senior themselves.

Typical selfish reactions to not getting their way when they want it. Same people who want to pay someone for a job so they can avoid actually having to work hard to get a coveted position.
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Old 31st Mar 2020, 07:26
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Either that or they elected to stay at a non seniority airline, generally to advance their career a fair bit quicker, and now feel entitled to leapfrog all those who did make the jump early in their career knowing how the system works at the bigger airlines. Having worked for both and did make the jump early in my career, I prefer the seniority based system where things are done on merit and not on things you might have achieved elsewhere.

Originally Posted by cactusbusdrvr View Post
Anyone who thinks getting rid of seniority is a good idea is not vey senior themselves.

Typical selfish reactions to not getting their way when they want it. Same people who want to pay someone for a job so they can avoid actually having to work hard to get a coveted position.
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Old 31st Mar 2020, 07:49
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Very few other professions have seniority, for a very good reason.

Will a doctor with 30 years experience have to start as an intern, just because they decide to move to a different hospital?

Why should an airline captain with 30 years experience start as a second officer, just because they move to another city/country/airline?
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Old 31st Mar 2020, 08:37
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I doubt (rightly so) things will change with regards to airlines using seniority systems. Just to ask a counter question, why should a skipper who got her/his command after 3 years of SH flying be able to jump above somebody who has been a FO for 16 years flying SH and LH with thousands of hours under her/his belt who just hasn't got her/his command because people generally stick with his career airline?

There is no fair system. However from the moment anybody joins the aviation word all the facts are out there. Some choose to join a stable legacy career airline with a seniority system, some choose to only fly regional props because they live close to base, some choose to fly flow fares or happy holiday people because they don't want to be a number and they love the smaller bases. All these come with risk and benefits. The risk if you join a charter company is it might not last you until the end of your career and you could end up seeing a bankruptcy when you are in the twilight of your career. Joining the legacy career airline you know you won't be a training captain as fast as the person choosing the charter company but you are much more likely to see your retirement with that airline.

This discussion will always be returning. The pilots working for a seniority system defending it and the pilots who have come to realise they made the wrong career path choice criticising it.
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Old 31st Mar 2020, 08:37
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The first casualty if you lose the Seniority system will be your sense of any job security, for all of your career.

Beware of what you wish for...
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Old 31st Mar 2020, 09:14
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Originally Posted by Jumbo2 View Post
... Some choose to join a stable legacy career airline with a seniority system ...
Originally Posted by macdo View Post
The first casualty if you lose the Seniority system will be your sense of any job security, for all of your career.

Beware of what you wish for...
TWA, Eastern Airlines, Pan Am, Swissair, SABENA. All 'legacy career airlines'. All with seniority systems. How was job security with them?

Earnest Gann has been mentioned. He got out of the airline industry when he saw, as a senior pilot in his airline how unfair the system was on people, not on their own choices or decisions but entirely on the decisions of those in management or the quirks of business at the time.

If you are determined to have a seniority system then you must accept that you go to the very bottom of the pile, no matter what experience you have or what post you hold if through some quirk that you have no control over whatsoever, for example a major international financial crash, major terrorist incidents, a world-wide pandemic, etc. That means a training captain with 15,000 hrs+ and 25 years in that airline (for example) has to become a junior first officer. That is just stupid. For a start, a waste of talent and experience. And will he get a job as a junior f/o? Or will he be considered potentially too much of a CRM risk with junior captains?
Beware of what you wish for...
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Old 31st Mar 2020, 09:18
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Originally Posted by macdo View Post
The first casualty if you lose the Seniority system will be your sense of any job security, for all of your career.

Beware of what you wish for...
Why?

There is what I deem to be a rather delusional attitude among some of the large UK seniority based airlines that redundancy will be from the bottom of the list up.

Putting aside the legal implication of such a system, it would cost the company a fortune to employ such a method; in a time when they are trying to achieve the exact opposite. I just canít see it.
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Old 31st Mar 2020, 09:50
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Originally Posted by Trossie View Post
TWA, Eastern Airlines, Pan Am, Swissair, SABENA. All 'legacy career airlines'. All with seniority systems. How was job security with them?

Earnest Gann has been mentioned. He got out of the airline industry when he saw, as a senior pilot in his airline how unfair the system was on people, not on their own choices or decisions but entirely on the decisions of those in management or the quirks of business at the time.

If you are determined to have a seniority system then you must accept that you go to the very bottom of the pile, no matter what experience you have or what post you hold if through some quirk that you have no control over whatsoever, for example a major international financial crash, major terrorist incidents, a world-wide pandemic, etc. That means a training captain with 15,000 hrs+ and 25 years in that airline (for example) has to become a junior first officer. That is just stupid. For a start, a waste of talent and experience. And will he get a job as a junior f/o? Or will he be considered potentially too much of a CRM risk with junior captains?
I didn't say it would stop airlines going broke. That happens whatever system you go for.

A seniority system isn't perfect, your second point is valid in that it both discourages and penalises pilots that want to move airlines. But, to balance that, it provides a stable basis for a long term career in which there are few options of advancement. Fo-Capt-Training Capt (plus a few bolt ons for management roles for the very few). IMO it also motivates pilots to band together and work for a common cause, the protection of their status and bank balance. Very very few things motivate pilots (once they are in their shiny jet) other than protection of their T&C's. A dog eat dog system bring out the worst.
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Old 31st Mar 2020, 09:53
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Originally Posted by clvf88 View Post
Why?

There is what I deem to be a rather delusional attitude among some of the large UK seniority based airlines that redundancy will be from the bottom of the list up.

Putting aside the legal implication of such a system, it would cost the company a fortune to employ such a method; in a time when they are trying to achieve the exact opposite. I just canít see it.
Not delusional, it has been tested and slightly modified to address the m/f imbalance that still exists. Still legal in the UK last I looked.

The benefit is for the pilots not the airline. That's the point.
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Old 31st Mar 2020, 10:13
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Originally Posted by macdo View Post
Still legal in the UK last I looked.
The benefit is for the pilots not the airline. That's the point.
It's only legal to discriminate purely based on seniority, for redundancies, promotion etc, up to 5 years of service, and beyond that, a more conventional employee scoring matrix is required. There are precedents on that. Seniority per se has only escaped abolition because it hasn't been directly challenged... yet.

And sorry, but the benefit is very much for the airline. What a gift to them that they can attack pilots T&Cs, and they will still be reluctant to leave and join the bottom of someone else's list.

Last edited by Time Traveller; 31st Mar 2020 at 10:41.
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Old 31st Mar 2020, 10:35
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Originally Posted by Time Traveller View Post
Do you have a reference to prove it's legal? It's most definitely NOT legal to discriminate in any way, beyond 5 years of service, and there are precedents on that. Seniority per se has only escaped abolition because it hasn't been directly challenged... yet.

And sorry, but the benefit is very much for the airline. What a gift to them that they can attack pilots T&Cs, and they will still be reluctant to leave and join the bottom of someone else's list.
challenge it then! Why do you think perhaps that itís not been challenged yet?
the most litigious country in the world (USA) still seem to have seniority within their major airlines. From where I sit in my armchair, my legal opinion is that itís clear there isnít a case to answer. Seniority is another word for loyalty in the legal world, and itís been shown under U.K. case law that rewarding employees based on loyalty is in fact legal (or more accurately not illegal). See rolls Royce vs Unite the union for the case i refer.
You are (wrongly) making the assumption that seniority is age discrimination when it is crystal,clear it is not. There are pilots at BA that joined at 20 years old that are mega senior but still much younger than DEPs that joined post military service. How would you square that circle?
the merits and pitfalls of a system will be debated long after Corona is a distant memory, but I bet my pension thereís no legal challenge (who would even bring a case anyway?) in my lifetime.
remind me how the 65 mandatory retirement for pilots legal challenge went...
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