Mid Campaign Message

Following the debate and other candidates' comms, it's necessary to crystallize the issues. However, I suggest you watch the debate first so see Phil's point of view.

Best regards - Nigel Demery

Ladies and Gentlemen,

I will continue my election campaign emphasizing the core issues and the positive aspects of our union. I am concerned that any negative campaigning or scare-mongering is divisive and not in the interests of our Membership as a whole. I have read Phil Elliot’s latest communication with some concern. Rest assured that I will not engage in tit-for-tat exchanges. However, this is a good opportunity for you to establish finally what we candidates stand for. This is a debate on issues – not people.


Resources. Perhaps one of the most alarming things that you can say to a union member is that his colleagues are going to leave the union en masse. Obviously, losing 100 members will deny the union revenue but this is academic. What if 500 or 1000 members resign? Focussing on the maths misses the point. The real questions are: are members leaving and, if so, why? Our Membership has stabilized and last month joiners approximately equalled resignations. We are, however, pursuing non-financial members and debtors. Since July 2001, some 25% percent of resignees are freighter pilots and 12% are Locally Employed Pilots. We have not yet succeeded in properly assimilating our freighter crew into our union. Your General Committee believes that these resignees are recoverable once we meet their needs for a fair contract. Indeed, we all share that need but our freighter and locally employed pilots remain the most discriminated against by management.


It is pure speculation to suggest that our current strategy, or indeed Phil’s or Peter’s strategy, will drive out members in large numbers. Quitting our Association just leaves everyone more vulnerable - members and non-members alike. As a union member I would be more comfortable if Phil had given his commitment to fight for the continued membership of those individuals considering leaving. I consider this to be a responsibility shared by us all and fundamental to the democratic process. In any election, the losing candidate must pledge his support, and that of his constituents, to the successful candidate and continue to work within the system; albeit from the opposition benches. To act otherwise is to invite a breakdown of the democratic system itself. 


Fight or Flight? Clearly the issue is either our Association is maturing and evolving into an ever stronger or experienced union, or that we are eternally doomed because management’s commitment will always be greater than ours. There is no point in being in a wealthy union, with 100% membership, whilst being too frightened to correct a 3-month contract due to intimidation.  Our choice is to fight on our feet or to live on our knees.


Legals. I welcome Phil joining Peter and I regarding the legal strategy. Phil has moved from his first manifesto position of undertaking “to review the legal processes and present a full report to the membership so that we can all decide on the way forward” to endorsing our current legal strategy. This is an important element in our multi-path approach.


Talking? Phil perpetuates the myths surrounding ‘talks about talks’ as a fundamental platform issue: “encouraging talks have already taken place but these opportunities have not been fully explored”. Phil suggests that a resolution, just by “talking”, is near. It is not. Sitting down at a table will achieve nothing unless it’s negotiation in good faith. We spent the first 6 months of last year negotiating - to no avail because management had another plan. Informal “talks about talks” in September showed a continuing fundamental difference on the basics of our working relationship. Formal talks in October again showed no management proposals. Subsequent talks with the “Probes” have also produced no outcome. There must be a time, Ladies and Gentlemen, when this management technique and plan are finally recognized by even the most naïve.


Summary.  Ours is not a unique problem, nor is it an impossible task. When we set about responding to the ongoing contract abuse by management we knew it was not going to be easy. We also know from our own experience that trying to ignore the obvious only delays the inevitable. We are a strong union and we enjoy the respect and support of our international colleagues. We have denied management’s attempt to bust our union. Our long-term strategies will soon begin bearing fruit.


I urge you to consider this election on the issues and to vote for the continued, measured approach. Do not decide to use your vote for “change for change’s sake” only to have to start rebuilding again later from what will almost certainly be a greatly weakened position.


For this reason I ask for your vote – let us resolve this now and then expand our airline. Thank you.


Nigel Demery

Please don't hesitate to contact me if you'd like to question me further as to why I am standing for HKAOA President.

I recommend that you view the debate. These points are amplified in my original manifestovideo and video transcript

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Please don't hesitate to contact me. My ICQ status is  .

HKAOA Presidential Election 2002:

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