As lockdown 3 continues (at the time of writing), there is much media speculation about when measures will ease, and we can start to return to what will undoubtedly be a ‘new normal’. The vast majority of our members will have been, and many continue to be affected by this pandemic that has decimated the aviation industry.
Almost a year ago, when lockdown 1 started we had unprecedented workloads due to what was effectively a shut down of aviation overnight. We have guided and supported many of you through redundancy processes, restructuring of businesses, changes to your terms and conditions due to COVID-19 mitigation arrangements, and of course the complexities of the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme (furlough) as that evolved and extended over time.
It has always been the IPA’s position that we want to help as many members as possible, and we have done so throughout this global crisis. But for the benefit of those who are not members, we cannot stress enough that we cannot help with pre-existing employment issues at the point of joining the IPA. We wrote recently on this point – if it is pre-existing, this inevitably comes out, and that will affect the help and support that we are able to offer. In the last couple of weeks, we have had at least two cases where this has happened. After members telling their employer that they will be getting support from their union, we have discovered the full facts despite members being asked to confirm whether it is pre-existing. This compromises us as your union, and your own situation with your employer. We cannot litigate any matter that is pre-existing, whatever stage we find this out.
We do understand that in the current climate, people are looking to whatever sources they can to get help that they need and we are sympathetic to those who find themselves needing advice and support but do not have union representation. However, members pay their subscriptions so that we can be there for them in any situation that arises related to their employment, whether this be communicating with their employer or third parties, such as the CAA.
Cases related to COVID-19 are just part of the work that we undertake. There are still grievance and discipline cases, Employment Tribunal cases on a variety of matters, TUPE enquiries as businesses gain or lose contracts, and the daily employment issues that arise across the industry. We have experience of whistleblowing, discrimination claims (race, sex, and age as examples), unfair dismissal, breach of contract and unlawful deductions from wages.
The vaccine rollout is a huge achievement, and a step in the right direction towards the ‘new normal’. It was apparent to us at the outset that for pilots, this may become an issue, and the number of enquiries on this development have risen in the last month. Some are keen to have the vaccine as soon as they become eligible, some are understandably hesitant. If you are affected at the moment, please do contact us, as we foresee a number of situations where members may need advice going forward.
If you work with colleagues who are not IPA members, urge them to join so that they can receive the same support as those of you who are IPA members, should you need us. Our work does make a difference.
As always, we can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org or 01444 441149.