2 Weeks in the Hall of Mirrors
The past couple of weeks have been interesting from many perspectives. It has been a time for reflection on many levels.
October 20 marked the International Day of the Controller. This date is recognised by ANSPs throughout the world and promoted by IFATCA and its member associations. This year it well worth reflecting that the chronic shortage of ATCs is not just a local phenomenon with the shortfall placed at some 3000 globally. With our estimated 100 short in
The remaining event for this day was the first meeting of Civil Air’s reps, Peter McGuane, our Executive Secretary and I, with Minister Albanese and his staff. The purpose of the meeting was to brief the minister on our position in negotiations and the staffing crisis facing ATC in
The CA meeting on the 22nd of October marked the tabling of Civil Air’s formal log of claims. Airservices has blamed Civil Air for stalling tactics. I would remind members that the date for commencement of negotiations was April 21. The first achievable meeting with Airservices was May 12. The negotiating teams have now met formally on 12 occasions. At the first meeting Civil Air tabled our Vision document in the format of a complete collective agreement. It was some time before this document was referred to by Airservices in negotiation. We advised from the outset that the Vision document was the basis for our formal claim but was not the actual claim.
The reason for not supplying the claim was simply one of administration. The Vision document contains content prohibited under Workchoices and we were waiting for clarification from government on the repeal process. Sadly, apart from the removal of AWAs as an employment instrument, the remainder of the repeal process awaits action.
At the same CA meeting, Airservices tabled its first offer. The content of this is published on the Civil Air website. This major point for this offer is that it is the first time where Airservices has identified a salary figure to offset its required productivity gains. Whilst I am grateful that we finally have something on the table I cannot help but wonder why it has been held back so long? At the time of tabling there remained only 60 days in the negotiating period. I will come back to this item shortly.
On the October 25th I was interviewed by Channel 7 Melbourne on the 70th anniversary of the loss of the Kyeema, a DC2 enroute Adelaide Melbourne 70 years ago. Tragically the flight ended with the aircraft crashing on
So 70 years on where is Air Traffic Control? There is no doubt that
On October 27 and 28 the Airservices board met in
Lastly, for this missive, today (October 30) I attended the first of 4 CA briefings in
There were no new revelations. Airservices confirmed their position that they believe that they are bound by the Australian Government Bargaining Framework and that they interpret this framework to mandate all remuneration increases must be funded by productivity. The balance sheet is padded with items that are either mandates by government (but must be funded by you) or are in effect no cost options. The equation was quite simple "we want... (list) we give you this... (short list)". The end result was in their estimation list 1 minus list 2 must be budget neutral and comes out at 4% plus $2500 plus 1% etc. Productivity measures cannot be retrospective. The Airservices position is simply you must fund any increase. Civil Air does not support this. My personal opinion is that the offer falls a long way short. Civil Air will strive to achieve a fair outcome. You should not be expected in times of record profits to move backwards in real terms.
The model adopted by Airservices effectively means all staff should vigorously oppose any changes yielding productivity to the organisation unless they are directly and explicitly included in the productivity calculations associated with your employment conditions. If you allow anything else you are giving productivity measures away for free. For me, this is an untenable position for a business model but is the natural outcome of the basic premise. I believe that this model is at the heart of the adversarial approach to negotiation.
Airservices speaks regularly about the lack of goodwill. Clearly the corporate model of forcing reform through to achieve significant efficiencies and then at every negotiation stating that it all happened in the past and therefore cannot be considered is doing much to erode the support of the staff. We’re placed in the Catch 22 bind that past productivity can’t count and productivity that hasn’t happened yet can’t be planned (or paid) for. If I was planning this for Airservices I’d simply predict no change in the next agreement to minimise salary exposure, then announce a raft of change as soon as the ink’s dry.
On Wednesday the 5th we will be before the AIRC discussing clause 4.3.1 of the existing agreement and you can expect direct advice of the outcomes as soon as we know the result. Next week we also commence divisional meetings around the country to seek your direction on the offer to hand. It is important that you make your views known to your delegates so that we can effectively negotiate on your behalf. If you can’t attend please provide your proxy in writing to someone who can.
Next week I will be in
President, Civil Air
30 October, 2008