We continue to welcome new members from across the UK aviation industry. Whilst reasons for joining the IPA vary, increasingly we are hearing of dissatisfaction with current workplace arrangements in relation to terms and conditions of employment, including pay.
The IPA employs staff specifically to deal with workplace issues on behalf of members, meaning that we are independent from any employer and can focus on representing members best interests. Working in this way ensures that members receive a consistently high standard of service from professionals with relevant experience to support, advise and negotiate.
The return to operations ‘post covid’ does not mean that the industry has recovered. Some pilots made redundant still find themselves without jobs. For those who kept their jobs, the situation has been seized upon as an opportunity to negotiate down terms and conditions of employment at a time when pilots were not in a strong position. There is no obligation on employers to reinstate what has been taken away unless it was agreed to be an interim measure only. That said, some operators looked after their employees, and continue to do so.
Having spent around two years predominantly dealing with covid related issues, the office has seen a return to some normality in the issues that members raise with us. We have represented pilots in several grievance matters, most of which have related to health issues. What we have seen is a conflict where Occupational Health prepare a report, in as much as the recommendations are not binding on the employer, however instructing Occupational Health is somewhat of a pointless exercise if recommendations are not followed. In all ill health cases we would urge members to contact us so that we can ensure that the correct, and a fair process is followed.
There are also some who are looking to submit flexible working requests. This is perhaps due to wanting a better work/life balance, or because they are at a point in their career where they are looking for something different. Employees have the right to make a statutory request for flexible working, but it is important to note that it is a right to request, not a right to have flexible working. There are a number of considerations for both employer and employee, and as an employee can only make one request per year, the timing, and type of request made can play a big part in whether the application will be successful. Owing to the limitations of the statutory request, members are advised to talk through a possible application with us before submitting it.
Capability has also been an issue. We are pleased that most operators have adopted a fair and pragmatic approach in cases where a pilot is not meeting company standards. We have seen pilots with exemplary training records who have not found the return to flying as easy as they had hoped, but the right support and training in place has meant that in the majority of cases, there has been no need to take any case further.
Mental health and wellbeing are at the forefront of our interactions with members. There are several factors that might affect any employee – financial worries, job security, family concerns, work performance and/or expectations, and anyone who has worries should be encouraged to speak to someone. It is not always easy to confide in family, but there may be a work colleague, friend, manager, or appointed mental health individual at your place of work who you can speak to in confidence. Alternatively, your union can also be a source of support. We have spoken with many pilots with a variety of concerns, and we are always here to listen. We may not have the answer but sharing your worries can help in coping with them.
The IPA can be contacted on 01444 441149, or email@example.com