HKAOA PRESIDENTIAL ELECTION (2000)

 

E-MAILS

Here are some of the encouraging messages I've received, together with some serious points.

 Remember, the views expressed are not necessarily my opinion! However, the President's job is to represent the views of the Members.

 

Best regards - Nigel Demery


This section grew a bit. The earlier messages are here.


Sorry for the later than intended reply. Sunday turned out to be busier than expected. Excuse me if I largely cut-and-paste from previous replies, where possible.

> As one of the original B-Scalers, I am writing in an attempt to gain  your views on the subject of B-Scales and their continued presence in  Cathay Pacific Airways.

Briefly, I am against separate CoS as they are divisive and, in your case, below market standards. This company can afford to pay to retain high standard aircrew in a high standard airline. It is indefensible to pay below standard rates. I have previously said this:

>>>>However, many of you have also thought further ahead and have recognised that your package is not competitive when one considers all factors, including retirement provisions. Now that many junior officers view Cathay once again as a career airline, it must offer to you just that - an industry standard career package through to retirement.

Management will continue to reject these notions. That is their job. However, we must continue to state our case. That's your Association's job. I have a responsibility to try my best to pass on to you the good prospects that my predecessors passed on to us.

I will not make "election promises" that cannot be backed with reason. What is unreasonable is that half of our members continue to receive less than a competitive package, whilst our Company makes increasingly record profits. I'm not an economist, but - one week before the end of the first-half cycle - I would not be at all surprised if our Company makes in excess of HK$4.5 billion profit this year, and maybe nearer HK$5.5 billion. Continuing with below average pay and exceedingly poor retirement provisions will be indefensible morally and, possibly, practically.

One promise I can give is that I'll do my best to represent your views with personal vigour and the support of a focussed, new, representative Committee. But you need to elect me first.

 

>More specifically, I would like to know:

> 1. How you would tackle the problem of B-Scales, and the  preponderance of other scales and COS, were you to become the  president of the AOA,

I don't intend to put my gain-plan out for all to see, XXXX. Suffice it to say that I'm more than willing to do whatever the members are prepared to do. If you and your colleagues feel strongly enough to DO something about your inadequate conditions, I'm very happy to use my experience and skills to make it happen. We have a committee at the moment, most of whom will be continuing, who are ready to pursue the CoS of those who've joined since 93. Certainly, the political climate is right. But one word of caution: a magic wand can't be waived by a small committee. There is only one solution to your problems.

 

and, 2. Would you support an extension to the  retiring age to age 60 now, or any time in the near future?

OK, I don't think you've seen my website, where I think I have covered this fully:

>>>>What is your view on CX retirement age?

That's interesting - you're the second guy in 5 minutes on that!

The only provision for service beyond 55 in our contract is by-pass pay, which is punitive for CX and is not really intended as a long-term solution. Equally, it is flexible and doesn't give CX the automatic penalty of having to pay higher salaries (to more senior crew) even during a downturn.

If CX forecast a long-term shortage of pilots (as most analysts do), then it is a problem they would have to address and presumably request a CoS change.

Something of that magnitude would be a membership-wide decision, which - if ratified - would have to be followed by individual contract change. Retirement age continues to be a political "hot potato" in many regions, so I have no doubt it would spur many a letter and comment!

In summary, my view is that, if it comes up, it would have to be researched and debated like any other major change. Being 46, and not wishing to work beyond 50 (unlikely but nice thought), I don't have a strong opinion in either direction as an individual. The President, however, would be bound by the constitution (as above). Hope that answers your question.

 

> 3. Do you  feel that B-Scalers should have been availed of the same share offer as  A-Scalers?

Only if you were to be subject to the same pay cuts, or were prepared to forego the negotiated pay rise for a share offer.

> 4. Do you believe it is fair that B-Scalers, who are  more productive than A-Scalers, should receive less profit share,  (which is in essence a productivity bonus), than A-Scalers?

No, it is not fair. However, please read my reply to another member on the same subject. My solution is a merged salary scale (amongst other things) and then there would be none of this attempting to "share" things that are unequal:

 

>>>>

> Something that has always struck me as unfair is the concept of paying profit share based on salary - when there is a 'discontinuity' in the scales - i.e. A and B scales. I hope you might be able to give this some attention if you get elected since:

At the risk of losing votes here, let me give my answer, which might not be the one you'd like.

> 1. We are likely to receive a reasonable profit share next round - so this will become a real issue.

Yes, which will include ~120m saved from the salaries of those who joined pre-93.

>2. Resolved in the right way it might  be useful in eventually getting us all on a single scale

yes

>- which is, I  believe, high on your manifesto.

yes.

> I have never bemoaned A/B scale: I knew what the score was when I joined - which I was not forced to do. (Of course reserve the right to negotiate an improvement in my contract!).

A concept reconfirmed last year by management, when they re-negotiated mine (for the second time since you joined).

> What I find unfair is that having introduced B Scales, the company continued to pay profit share pilots based on multiples of salary.

Qualified agreement.

> The profit share formula is up to the company - as I understand it.

Mainly - it's "amendable company policy"....

> Generally a profit share scheme should reflect the contribution made by employees and I imagine that this was what the company was thinking when they first devised a formula for profit share. While there are many ways of dividing up profit share, salary based does not seem unreasonable - AS LONG AS THE PAY SCALES REFLECT CONTRIBUTION MADE. They did then - they certainly do not now. In fact, I make a bigger contribution to the bottom line than an A Scale colleague - I do the same job for less. On that basis I should receive MORE, not less profit share.

Your logic is good. Let me put in a couple of rhetorical questions:

1. I earn more, for example, than GMA and someone in Airline Planning who decides strategy. They may argue that their contribution to the bottom line is greater than mine. Who should get greatest profit share? 

2. I earn more (HK$) than a more senior captain on a base, yet we both could sit in the same seat doing the same job. Who should get greater profit share?

> So, why not establish the principal with the company that:

For the purposes of calculating profit share, they put ALL officers on the same "Notional Scale" - A Notional 'A' Scale. Then at least B Scale officers, in receiving an 'equivalent A scale salary multiple', would receive a much fairer share of the profit.

I like the idea of paying pilots who joined since 93 a greater share of the profit. Realistically, however, I do not see management agreeing to changing the profit share formula, in the manner you suggest, to give an advantage to any individual group of employees. How would they sell the idea to the other 11000 employees?

> .........and who knows, having established with the company, the principal of a single Notional scale, perhaps we would be closer to getting everyone back on the same real pay scale.

 

That's the real point, I think. It is past the time that we should have abolished different salary scales and all their attendant divisiveness. If we had a merged scale, the problem of second class profit share payouts would not arise. Further divisiveness should be resisted e.g. paying second rate C&T allowances, as is being offered to some officers. It's not the answer you want, XXXXX, but I prefer to put the horse before the cart.

You should be getting comparable pay whether or not this management chooses to declare a profit.

To summarise, my aims are:

1. Common COS for all

2. Common Benefits in each base area (including Hong Kong)

3. Industry Standard RPs

4. Common salary scales

>>>>>>>>

> I would be grateful if you would take some time out to answer these  questions Nigel. It would be useful to gauge the direction in which the  AOA will take in the months and years ahead were you to become  President.

Sorry, again, for the cut-and-paste, but your questions have been asked of me before and it's too late to put the same points in different words.

Can I just write a couple of extra items?

XXXXX, there are many pissed-off pilots out there and they all have different circumstances. I'm not too worried about this "divide-and-rule" that the management has employed since 1993. It's been quite effective but now I aim to "unite and succeed". Actually, management are helping me because you don't get something for nothing long-term.

Our association is now a grouping of minorities, which stops the vested interests of majority factions. I've actually lost track of the numbers of differing CoS; it was 13 when I was Director CoS and that was before pre-93 HK pilots were paid different salaries to basees and before USAB (and NZAB) was thought of.

One thing all the guys have in common is that they have had enough and are now ready to do something about it. Whilst most of us went along, albeit rather cynically and distrusting, with the logic of becoming more competitive - the lies of "fighting for survival" just didn't ring true with a group of professionals who rely on truth to really survive.

BUT absolutely nothing will happen without 2 major ingredients:

1. Motivation from the Members

2. Organisation by the Committee.

Now do you see why I am standing for office?

 


Fingers and everything else crossed for the count mate...


 

Hi Nij,

Sorry that I have been off the air for a while - just too much to do I'm afraid. However, I was particularly sorry that I didn't get a chance to comment on your election site/manifesto. I took a look this afternoon and am very impressed. I think that you probably have a bit of an unfair advantage over Ted as you have coms sorted and can target the voters so efficiently.

Certainly I think that your manifesto (apart from bits of 'spin' that don't sound particularly Demery-like) is very sound, honest and down to earth. I certainly would vote for you given the chance. I particularly enjoyed the jousting on your page devoted to the company management comments. Anyway, from what I saw of the replies from members you seem to have got the tone just right - well done.


Nij,

Thanks for your email. Best of luck with the election. Regards,


One question from me, Nij, why do you want to do it? I don't mean I want the rhetorical answers in all your excellent campaign stuff (only comment on that would be it is so good that this lot haven't seen anything like it ever and even the US pres could get some ideas) but really why? I know you would do an excellent job at it but just wonder why you want it?

Well, I was out walking the dogs last autumn reflecting on the previous summer's events. I started thinking about what we needed to do to ensure it doesn't happen again (i.e. reverse seniority redundancy), thought about who would be a good president to make these ideas happen and concluded that Murray would sort it out.

I then went further and thought that we needed someone between Murray and Ted and then came to the rather surprising conclusion that I was probably the only person currently experienced/willing to do a fill-in. Not many people will believe me on that, so I'm not going to waste my time convincing them.

I then extrapolated further on that, if I was going to do it, when would be the best time. I concluded that now (i.e. next September, then nearly a year away) was the best time. So that's it.

On another angle. The more I've thought about it, the more ideas I've had and the more water under the bridge, the more I actually want to do it.

Any more requires you to sit down with me over a bottle of wine....


Nigel,

Just heard yu are running for President. I wish you well and hope you

succeed.


Nigel,

Just a short e-mail to confirm what you already know. That is, that you have my vote. I look forward to seeing you work towards the prosperity and well being of ALL Hong Kong pilots. Best wishes


> Apart from wishing you luck and pledging my vote for you (in fact I have voted already - honestly),

Thank you. I will try to make it count.

>I do have some things I would like to  say.

> I joined CX through the cadet program and therefore started as a locally employed pilot. As LEP's our main bone of contention is  of-course the housing allowance and to a lesser degree the child  education assistance.  I am aware that the AOA has fought our case at many  junctures but as usual it is snubbed by the company. Due to the sheer  number of other important common issues at such meetings unfortunately  our plea for a fair hearing on this LEP issue is sidelined and reserved  for later consideration. In fact it never even gets discussed.

> In brief Nigel, I'm hoping that you can change this. None of us expect  any miracles but like any appeal it must start somewhere. If the AOA  accept this as a non starter then I'm afraid that it always will be. I  am also aware that as a group we are often seen as remote and feckless  and not one of the "boys". This observation and I suppose critisism is  not entirely unfair judging by our "conspicuous absence" from AOA  meetings and other functions. However, I feel it is important to remind members that the LEP's did support the dispute last summer and helped  with the message through local media phone ins and regular monitoring of  newspapers. A small effort but useful nonetheless.

A good reminder, indeed. Many people were too stressed last summer to take in all of the inputs. I know that you did more than the above - you guys also directly communicated in Cantonese with a few thousand CX employees to give them a balance to the propaganda they were receiving.

I know the AOA wrote to the Company in May, and received a reply:

http://bbs.hkalpa.org/office/Letters/2000in/05300000.jpg

I've checked with Ted and this project is in the final stages of completion. Hopefully, there will be a new scheme that complies with the contract ;-) and is beneficial to our members.

> Thats all for now. I know you must be inundated with good wishes and  questions via e-mail so I fully understand if you don't have time to  reply.

Let me add a few points.

I understand completely why many of the Locally Employed Pilots do not feel that the AOA represents their views in sufficient depth. There is truth to the perception that the locals were sidelined back in 89/90. That was an error.

However, that was 10 years ago. Our Association has changed completely since then. I don't think we have a "majority" group anymore - we are a grouping of minorities. I should think there are several times more locals than USAB pilots, for example. But to solve all of the problems, it needs work. The committee always needs more volunteers, whether to work on the committee (and have your name in lights) or to work in the background on a sub-committee.

Even if the Housing assistance problem is solved, the locals, as a group, will have other problems that need solving. It needs manpower.....

> Good luck Nigel and I hope you are our next President.

If I am, I now have your email address - so expect me to come recruiting!


Nij - brilliant work - a clear vision.


Nigel

G-Day mate It seems you have a lot of support , all the best to you and I hope you get the JOB.


> I had originally not intended to vote and binned the forms. However  after receiving your email of 23rd June decided to vote in your favour.

Good choice ;-)

> I asked the HKAOA (via email) to send me new forms to my mail box  so I could vote on my next trip to HK before I went  on leave. I did not get the  forms.  If it is not too late I would still like to vote for you. If you can encourage the HKAOA to send me the forms you will  have my vote.

Sorry - nocando. It's a secret postal ballot, which means each member is given one accountable form only. As it's secret, there's obviously no way anyone can verify that you actually binned the forms. E.g. someone could get in more than one vote. So unless you can give the AOA a dog-chewed/unusable form as proof, you will not get another!

> Thanks, best of luck

I need more than luck; I need 50% of the votes plus 1. If you would like to influence the vote to your choice, may I suggest the following remedy:

Find someone who hasn't voted and ask him if he intends to vote. If the answer is yes, and it's for me, move on and find another/repeat. If it is no, or he wishes to vote in the alternative, then persuade him to the contrary...

Good hunting!


Nigel,

DONE! I wish you all the best and hope it goes well for us ALL. see you soon


Dear Nigel,

First of all may I wish you every success in your campaign for the AOA Presidency, I have read and heartily agree with your manifesto, and yes, you already have my vote.


This section grew a bit. The earlier messages are here.


This is a "broccoli-free" site

 

Remember, the views expressed are not necessarily my opinion!


HKAOA Presidential Election 2002:

Vote again FOR Your Future, Vote FOR Nigel


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