Pilot terms and conditions of employment remain a contentious area. We recently wrote about the ‘new’ Ryanair contracts that were not all that they seemed to be, and Dublin based Ryanair pilots have gone on strike because of their Ts and Cs. Our members primarily want Ts and Cs that are subject to the laws of England and Wales. This is for several reasons. Firstly, that is where most of our members are resident. Secondly, it is a legal system that most people have a basic understanding of, even if they have not experienced the process of a court or tribunal themselves. Additionally, it gives members the security of knowing that their union can advise, and represent them should the need arise. We have also acted in several cross jurisdictional claims and have successfully applied to have the Secretary of State for Business added to proceedings where this has been resisted.
As we represent pilots across the UK industry, we are knowledgeable as to what normal industry standards are when it comes to pilots’ terms and conditions of employment, bearing in mind the size of the company, and the operations flown. In our experience, there are very few ‘like for like’ employers.
When speaking about ‘terms and conditions of employment’ we normally think about remuneration. This is not generally the reason that pilots contact us when they are looking for new roles. Reasons might include a reduction to the benefits an employer provides, putting the onus on the employee to pay for insurances they previously benefited from through their employment (which in turn does affect their disposable income). Employers might have moved their operation making getting to work difficult for a pilot, it might be that roster patterns make continuing to work for that employer untenable. More recently, some pilots have struggled with the administration their employer has. Outsourced payroll making too many mistakes, forms not being processed in a timely manner, if at all. Changes have been made to contracts without consultation or notification, or employers have not taken their pilots concerns seriously. Even not being able to take your holiday can trigger pilot attrition.
Overall, employment opportunities for pilots are improving, the exception to this being specific sectors of the rotary industry. We have seen a steady increase in pilots moving roles in recent months. Some of the contracts being offered are not the best terms. We frequently advise pilots on new contracts, meaning that if they do sign them, they at least have the benefit of knowing precisely what they are signing up to. We can also advise on bond agreements and would urge our members to have these reviewed as we have seen some highly unusual terms.
The general points to take away from this article are:
- The IPA has an experienced team able to advise members on employment issues.
- The IPA knows that not all airlines are the same and can give advice tailored to your work.
- We can and will advise and represent our members.
- Representation will extend to court or tribunal proceedings where we believe there is a case for the employer to answer.
- Employment opportunities are now out there, but we would recommend members use our contract review service.