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Saturday, 25 April 2015

Captains can work one more year amid oversupply of pilots

According to the Straits Times news report “SIA pilots above 62 get extra year” (Mar 9) – “Singapore Airlines (SIA) has agreed to let captains above the age of 62 keep their wings for an extra year, but there is a catch.
They must take unpaid leave for six months during the period. And those already past 62 and currently on re-employment contracts must go by the end of June.

If the above can happen to the captains do you seriously think similar cost cutting measures won`t happen to cabin crew? In an environment of fierce competition and low profits it is inevitable the company would resort to drastic cost cutting measures to remain afloat.

Cabin crew must be realistic and be more concerned  with keeping their jobs than fret over things like a slight drop in their LMA, flat rate IFA, downgrading of hotels etc..

What can your union do if lets say, the company decides that crew be provided meals in the hotels they stay instead of being paid the LMA? What about mass retrenchment or "offer" of the so called "Golden Handshake" to senior crew like the IFS and CS as they did to the CCEs in 2003?

I know of airlines that do not pay their flight attendants basic salary. The crew are paid by the hours they fly. Some pay their crew low basic salary and their crew depend on their meal allowances and the number of hours they work. Therefore, SIA cabin crew is more fortunate than its counterparts.
Here I am not referring to budget airlines but premium airlines.

We hope SIA will continue to be profitable otherwise it may resort to taking more severe cost cutting actions.

Friday, 24 April 2015

Understanding why the crew is being paid " less"

The starting basic salary of a new cabin crew with SIA is $1340 for non degree holder and $1490 for a degree holder. SIA advertises in it recruitment website that a new recruit after training would get about $3,500 a month ("Upon graduation, you can look forward to a basic salary and various allowances amounting to about SDG3,500 a month...") The figure 3,500 gives the impression that a newbie would get that every month but in reality it may not be true. The bulk of the salary is made up of LMA or Location Meal Allowance (almost $2,000). 

We know that the crew like the idea of pegging the LMA to the hotel menu. The crew staying at a certain hotel at outstation will be paid the cost of a 3 course meal on the hotel menu. This would inevitably disadvantage the crew if the company decide to put the crew in a less than 5 star hotel because the cost of the meals in a cheaper hotel is less than that of a 5 star hotel. The company, since the last CA has the prerogative to accommodate the crew in hotels that it deems as "suitable" without having to consult the union.

The LMA may also go up or down depending on the strength of currencies (against the SIN dollar which the crew are paid) of the cities where the crew night stop. A review is carried out every 6 months. An example is the Japanese Yen which has depreciated about 30% against the SIN Dollar over the last 2 years. SIA in its 6 monthly review will therefore reduce the LMA for Japan eg. a crew who night stop 24 hrs in Japan used to be paid S$300 will now get $200. If you take  other cities into account eg. Amsterdam, Paris etc the Euro has weakened considerably and the crew nightstopping there will be paid less in S$ now as compared a few years ago.

Therefore,to the crew their LMA has gone down by as much as 20% in the last 2 years. In reality, although the crew are paid less in SIN Dollar their purchasing power is stronger. However,no amount of reasoning or explanation will help the crew to understand why their take home pay is reduced.

To appease the crew, the company and the union would have to work together and find out a better method of payment of the LMA. 

Thursday, 23 April 2015

Celebrating Heart`s victory in Japan

My apologies to Alan and all Heart members for not being able to join you all at the victory celebration in Singapore. One consolation is that I am able to celebrate the victory in Japan. Congrats to you guys once again for the "Heart" fought battle and may you fulfil most if not all your election promises during your term in office.

Victory celebration by Heart ...see more

Wednesday, 22 April 2015

Heart says "Thank You" to voters and urges opponents to put aside differences

I stumbled upon a post about the recent cabin crew SIASU election (a blog which I will not want my readers to visit and so I am not providing the link)in which it says "These unionists in SIASU absolutely hate each other" and "These unionists in SIASU absolutely dislike each other". The blogger does not really have a deep understanding of the working of the cabin crew union (which is part of SIASU). I don`t think the opposing teams challenging to lead the union ever hate each other. They disagree on issues. They are all colleagues flying for the same airline. I don`t think they ever even hate their employer. As unionists,they want to bargain and get the best deals for their members.
The message(above)from the victorious Heart party says it all.

Tuesday, 21 April 2015

The honeymoon is over for cabin crew management

One thing most crew would take delight in is that the honeymoon for its management is finally over. Choice is no longer its bed-partner. Choice is dead and so is its offshoot One Voice.
The tiger that is waiting to pounce is Heart. With Alan as its leader, it will be tough for the management to have a good sleep every night as it did for the last 4 years.
Alan has nothing to lose as he is almost 56 years old. This would probably be his last term with the union unless his retirement is extended to 62 and beyond. He is an honest man who is committed to helping the crew. The only thing he may lose is his credibility if he does not keep his election promises.
We will be watching and time will tell whether things will improve for cabin crew.

Results of election:

Heart Party won all 20 seats with Alan having the highest votes of 1709 and the least in his party of 1336 (Arshad).

Vernon Lim the leader of One Voice garnered 530 votes.
PJ Singh,leader of Unity scored with 921 votes.

The 2 independants collected around 200+ votes each.

Monday, 20 April 2015

My heart bleeds for OneVoice and Unity

 All 3 parties contesting in the cc union election 2015 had worked hard to woo the cc votes. I feel sorry for the 2 parties who had lost. It is inevitable as only one party would emerged as the winner.
Voice promised in its manifesto to bring Eddy the retired ex union president as its adviser. This could have backfired as many felt that Eddy has lost touch with the new generation of crew.

The main loser in this election is Eddy again. In 2007, he was defeated by Alan and Heart. Eddy retired from the airline not long after his defeat. To avenge his defeat by Alan, the already retired Eddy rallied behind Tony a newbie in the 2010 election.
Tony and his party called Choice handed Alan and Heart a big thrashing. Eddy was looking forward to becoming the union`s adviser but unfortunately, Tony did not want him. Eddy was obviously disappointed with Tony and Choice and in this election (2015), decided to back Vernon and One Voice, a breakaway party from Choice. Tony and Choice did not contest in this election. The reason? Tony knew he will be badly beaten because of his last 4 1/2 years performances.
This time round Eddy thought he could win. His strategy did not go down well with the voters and it may have been one of the reasons One Voice lost so badly
All in all Eddy actually "lost the election" for the third time since 2007.

As for PJ the leader of Unity, this would be his last attempt at the union election. He is going to be 59 soon and probably retires at 60 unless Alan decides to help him extend his retirement to 62 and beyond. Some people aren`t destined to lead no matter how hard they try and PJ is one of them.

I would like to congratulate Alan and Heart Party for the big win. May you achieve the things you have promised cabin crew. It may be a difficult task but with the  majority of the members supporting you, we see no reason why you can`t.

10 with the highest votes click more

Final results for cabin crew union election 2015

Results: as at 3:50pm is

Unity  boc votes 355
One Voice..........239
Split votes ........1022
Spoilt votes ..........41

Heart bloc votes...1038.....winner by landslide....Congrats Alan & Heart!!!!

Counting of votes in progress.............

By 3pm, about after several hundred votes counted,Heart has about (estimated from a distance from the counters) 300 bloc votes.

By 4pm, Heart has the highest number of bloc votes judging by the stacks of bloc votes.

Results of cc union election 2015

Results will be annouced at about 4pm after the counting has completed. Prediction? Anyone could win but my calculated guess is of course HEART PARTY. If it does not win this time,cc will be having another miserable 4 1/2 years.

At closing the total number of votes cast is 2695 which is relatively low.

Saturday, 18 April 2015

50-50,split votes...PJ is the winner??

PJ Whatapps me out of the blue to refute my post on the victory of Alan and Heart Party this coming Monday when the ballots are counted. Below is a video commentary of the 3 horse race between Alan,Pj and Vernon which I've made last year. Will I be wrong? Perhaps not but we shall wait for the
results on Monday late afternoon.

Day 10... 18 April (Saturday 9 pm) total 2462 votes cast.

Friday, 17 April 2015

Some of today's Talks participants are potential cabin crew

Eight cabin crew wannabes attended my Talks this morning. Some are cabin crew material while others have to work harder to be transformed into potential cabin crew.

While some cabin crew in the airlines are complaining and whining about their job, many wannabes are eagerly waiting to join the airlines at all cost. It is not just about wanting to be crew with premium airline like SIA, EK, CX etc but some do not mind even joining the budget airlines.
So existing crew should learn to appreciate what they are having now.

I spent almost 4 hours today coaching them how to ace the interview. There was also an hour of Q & A session. Many left the session feeling satisfied and looking forward to the SIA upcoming interview on 30 May at Suntec Singapore Convention and Exhibition Centre with optimism.

Good Luck guys!

Whoever leads the union will face a tough management in the next 4 years

By next Monday afternoon, around 4 pm, we will know who will form the next cabin crew union committee. Will it be Heart or One Voice or Unity Party? The top 20 candidates with the highest votes standing for the election will be in the committee to represent the 7,000 cabin crew (only 50% are union members). Currently, the voting is still going on at cabin crew control centre Terminal 3.

My guess is Heart will get the majority of the crew's votes. At least 15 of their candidates (each party field in 20 candidates) will get the highest votes from the 3,000 to 3,500 votes cast by Monday 20 April 12 noon. But then we will never know who will be the winners until the ballot boxes are opened and all votes are counted.

Whoever are voted to represent the crew will have a tough time negotiating with the company. SIA is not that profitable anymore. It faces stiff competition from budget and Middles Eastern carriers.

Whatever the outcome, it is better to have a strong union to bargain for the crew than to have a weak team of representatives.

Thursday, 16 April 2015

Who is the real Ravi P?

The guy "Ravi P" who commented in the earlier post "After 12 years, they are still the same ( pt. 2 )" was supposedly a cabin crew who had left many years ago.
I do not think it's the real Ravi P who had left the comment. The real Ravi is a very successful businessman making tons of money and do not have the time nor interest reading this blog.
Ravi left SIA as an IFS in 1984 after working 15 years in cabin crew. He is now into property, movie and food business. His personal asset is worth a few hundred millions and is still counting. His monthly salary is a whopping $160,000.
The person who used Ravi's name must be a "lau cheow" or an old timer who knew Ravi.

Monday, 13 April 2015

After 12 years, they are still the same ( pt. 2 )

The comment by "Ravi P" in the first part of the post (below) may be true to a small extent. "Because the crew will offer you tea,coffee, well presented first class meals and kowtow to you lah. You would be the highest ranking crew on board! Please dont be delusional that crew love you... past or present".

The majority whom I met these last few days do not have to suck-up to me since I am no longer with the airline. They could have snubbed and ignored me but on the contrary, many came up to me and shook my hands.They are simply nice people..
Alan,the leader of Heart party was my trainee 33 years ago and he has always been polite and treat me with great respect. PJ was in my ward many years ago. He is the head of the Unity party which is contesting in the union election and is a gentleman even though he knew I am in favour of Heart winning the election. He does not have to acknowledge my presence but he did and in fact he bought me lunch the other day at T3. Vernon, the chief of OneVoice shook my hands and we had a chat a few days ago.

I met many cabin crew whom I knew and they were as nice and courteous toward me. They do not have to make drinks or serve me food like they did when I flew with them but some still buy coffee for me and some of the retired crew who were present at control centre.

One female inflight supervisor came up to me, shook my hands and complimented me for looking younger than my age. I remember her as a young stewardess in my ward some 20 years ago. I visited her in the hospital when she was sick and she did not forget. She still looked good despite being in her early forties.

Danny, a trainee of mine 25 years ago came up to me and pat me on my back. We chatted about the good old times for almost 20 minutes.

There were many cabin crew who are naturally nice and kind unlike some peers and senior people I've worked with.

That "Ravi P" who commented in my blog (I suspect) must be one of those asses in the office.

The Whatsapp message (below)was sent to me by an IFS. He has been faithfully reporting to me the number of votes cast at the end of the day for the last 4 days. Today, he is away on a flight and have asked another crew to report to me. Look at the tone of the message....isn't he nice and polite? He does not have to treat me with such respect but he chose to. I have left SIA 12 years ago and he as well the other crew do not have to suck-up to me. Come on "Ravi P" don't judge other people by your poor and selfish standard.

Sunday, 12 April 2015

After 12 years, they are still the same ( pt. 1 )

It would be 12 years this June since I left SIA as a cabin crew executive. I have worked there for 35 years and it wasn't all smooth sailing. I had good times and bad times with the people I've worked with.
Frankly speaking, I enjoyed working with the crew more than with my peers and bosses. As a cce, I spent half the time in the office and the other half flying with my crew. I enjoyed the latter.
There were many in the office whom I can't get along. Some managers, assistant managers and svps were not the best of people I've worked for. The cabin crew were nicer although there were a minority whom I found difficult to work with. Overall, flying with the crew was a happier experience.

A few days ago I received a Whatsapp message. It was from someone in a chat group of which I am not a member. The sender of the message identified himself after I've asked him to ( to be able to contact me, he included me in the chat group). I was taken aback because I don't know how and where he has got my phone number from. He was my former assistant manager. He told me our ex manager is organising a concert end of this month. A minute later the ex manager Whatsapp me and gave me the details of the concert. I apologised as I am not able to attend. I told him I will be away but would be glad if we could meet another time. The ex manager wished me a "safe journey".  I thanked him.

There was absolutely no contact with the above people since I left SIA 12 years ago. In some ways, I was happy that they still remember me. But that feeling turned to an insult when a day later, they kicked me out of the chat group. It's not that I desire to be in the chat group but they gave me the impression that since I won't be attending the function (or of no use to them) they don't want me in the group.

These last few days, I was at T3 control centre mingling with the crew because of the union election.
I was there not just to support Heart Party whose leader was my ex student but to re-establish ties with many of the crew. The mood was more carnival-like with many bringing snacks, food and drinks to share. These were the moments I treasure a lot.