Reply To: World Airline Awards – Poor BA!

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AnthonyDunn – 19/06/2013 10:51 GMT

Thanks for the reply

To respond so some of the specific matters you raised:

AnthonyDunn: I still don’t know how their CC salary, pensions etc entitlements compare with BA’s or other Western carriers. It is just generally asserted as most likely being the case that Asian staff are cheaper but I’ve not ever seen any hard evidence either way. Are you any more knowledgeable about this?

Anecdotally, CX cockpit crew were at one time among the best paid in the skies. I believe a number of legacy flight crew retain their original terms, but newer ones are on a different package which is, unsurprisingly, less lucrative (a bit like BA and legacy / mixed fleet, I assume). The point I was really trying to make is that they have a number of European-based crew, who I again presume (and this is, I confess, only an educated guess) are likely to be paid as much as (and possibly, because of their langauge skills since all must speak at least one Asian language, more than) crew working for Europe-based airlines, and of course will get all the same statutory benefits. How does the package of home-based crew compare? I honestly don’t know. I can point you to one part of the comparison though:
Flight crew –
Cabin crew – unfortunately, the CX side doesn’t give the same level of detail, although they do describe some of the benefits here – and also point out that they only get three-year contracts:
I also found this article, albeit it somewhat out of date, which might give you an idea of what cabin crew get in HK:
Anyone out there able to make a comparison with, say, BA home crew?

AnthonyDunn: More pliant? I was genuinely struck by the Youtube dating back to “Gatwick 1990” (!) and the comments made therein. I wonder whether and by how much such an attitude has changed in the intervening 23 years. On the basis of both my travel to parts of Asia and interaction, both socially and professionally, with the locals, I do not believe that this attitude has completely disappeared. As you clearly fly on more Asian carriers than I do, do you consider that this is not an aspect of their in-flight experience?

Pliant implies biddable and subservient – or at least, that is the way I read it. I would say that if you are looking at Asian cultural norms and their distinction from those prevailing in Europe in this respect, I would have used the word “respectful” instead. I have been based in HK for the last 20 years (and first came out here in 1989). Unsurprisingly, there has been a huge amount of change in that time, and cultural norms are no exception. I certainly don’t see the particular aspect that the trainer focused on – refraining from looking someone directly in the eyes – as prevailing in HK any more. It probably still does so somewhat in Japan and to a lesser extent Korea, a bit in Thailand (but by no means universally across Asia), but only in certain contexts. I certainly don’t see it at all in the interactions I normally have with Asian people from any country once you get past (in certain countries) the bowing and greeting stage

AnthonyDunn: You assert that in some Asian jurisdictions, dismissing people is now next to impossible. But is this universally the case across the entire Asia-Pacific and Gulf regions? Is access to a trades union for negotiating purposes now universal? That too would appear unlikely – but far be it from me to describe your comment as ludicrous as a result!

I can’t comment on the Gulf. For AsiaPac, no it isn’t universal (I did only state that it was the case in some Asian countries). There are, of course, an awful lot of countries in Asia so let me answer your question by saying that in the case of the countries which, to my knowledge, have national carriers flying to the UK, I am not aware of any that do not recognise trade unions and trade union rights (but bear in mind I am not an employment lawyer so can’t be completely definitive). You have to bear in mind in this context that a lot of Asian countries are, or were, socialist! Even in some of the capitalist countries the unions are incredibly powerful and/or militant (Korea being a case in point – as regards militancy, some of them would make the NUM with Arthur Scargill still at the helm look like a bunch of spineless wimps)

And yes, sorry I used the word ludicrous, that was a bit strong 🙂

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