Cabin crew roles and pay rates

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Melburnian1

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One of our kind moderators suggested that I start a new thread on what he or she asserted would be an interesting topic.

To put it into context, TAFF's esteemed member jb747 said (in reference to a discussion about another matter):

In the case of cabin crew, you don't have to look far to find very minimally paid, and very heavily worked cabin crew. Whilst people happily denigrate them as trolley dollies, this is the sort of mistake they'll make after the vast number of hours at work that you'll need when paid $6 per hour. Perhaps I could suggest that the public demand for cheap flights means that they'll get them at the cost of minimal safety margins.
to which I replied:

jb747, there are plenty of other individuals in society who are paid low wages.

Roadworkers responsible for the safety of their colleagues; garbologists who must carefully position trucks to avoid crushing a colleague (which happened in an inner Melbourne municipality, Stonnington some years ago); kitchenhands and waitresses who may cut up meat, vegetables and fruit that you and I eat - so there's an expectation that they have clean hands, tie their hair back and don't otherwise compromise food safety and bus drivers in rural areas who may have to watch out for trucks while the bus has schoolchildren seated three to seats meant for two adults and who are talking loudly and occasionally fighting down the back of the bus along with assistants in aged care homes who must look after many elderly, no longer ambulant folk.

Given that minimum wage rates apply, I doubt that airline cabin crew are paid '$6 per hour' although I realise that you were probably engaging in a bit of poetic licence to make your point.

The usual response to those who suggest that cabin crew don't normally do a lot is to argue that the cabin crew must be well trained and able to quickly evacuate the aircraft in the event of an emergency. Yet on Western airlines including on QF, on occasion I observe fairly old overweight staff who don't appear to be fast moving, yet who seem to retain their positions because of unionisation and seniority, rather than (say) the airline taking the approach of some Asian airlines who as far as I am aware want younger staff. Why don't Western airlines insist that all their onboard staff (cabin and flight crew alike, but particularly the former) remain at an appropriate level of weight for height, difficult as this is for many as they advance in years, if the evacuation duties are so important to the welfare of paying passengers and other staff?

to which jb747 then replied

I wasn't joking about the $6 per hour. Use Asian staff on Australian internal flights, and that's what you can end up with. The point is that the quest of cheap fares has a big downside.

The senior flight attendants are, in my experience, a lot more use than the pretty young things. The Asian airline example is an extremely poor one, and not one that should be followed by anyone.

to which I then replied:

The 'Asian airline example' includes airlines such as SQ and CX that are (respectively) regarded by many passengers as the world's best airline (SQ) and which has Australian and UK flight crew along with very well trained cabin crew (CX).

QF may not want to emulate the 'Asian airline example' but this will be to its cost. I was speaking recently to a senior businessman based in SYD, who when I said 'I gave QF about 10 years before it ceases international flights' his response was 'I give them five.'

The airline industry today (with the exception of parts of Africa) is the safest it has ever been yet passenger numbers have increased a lot in the last 20 to 30 years due to cheap fares, increased flight choices, a real rise in incomes and a growing Australian preference for overseas holidays. If QF International wants to ignore this, well fine - but it will go out of business.

It's great that in real terms I can fly to Europe for far less $A than 35 years ago: there's no evidence to suggest that safety has been compromised.

The 'Asian airline example' is an outstanding one that has led to QF being forced to try to meet the competition, not very successfully. You won't find me on a QF flight to MNL if I can help it: I much prefer 'Asia's first', PR, which by the way also has a good safety record and which is now effectively controlled by a respected and large Filipino conglomerate, San Miguel Corporation (manufacturer of the eponymos Pale Pilsen and Pale Pilsen Light that many Australians are growing to enjoy) and which once some years ago owned National Foods in Oz (selling out at a decent profit).

----------------

What do you think?
 
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chrisb

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Semi Related;

In the QF32 book the following crew were listed:

1 CSM Customer Service Manager
1 C/S Cabin Supervisor
11 CFA Chief Flight Attendant
9 A/C Air Chef

Does anyone know what the Air Chef roll is? How does it vary from FA? Do they have the same safety roll? (ie: sitting on doors and doing the evac)

Also, why are all the FA's "Chief Flight Attendants"?
 

Mal

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Jetstar were well known for using Asian based staff on some domestic tag flights and flights to and from Asia. And yes they get paid a pittance.

The quality of work from an individual isn't really related to their pay level but rather the satisfaction they get from the role overall and how good they are individually. Of course though, pay does matter and if you are underpaid you are likely to leave.

I'm sure fair work Australia has a copy of some of the airline related EBA s. Qantas for example has multiple agreements and bases. Two staff on one flight might do exactly the same role but get paid much differently depending on how they are employed....
 

JessicaTam

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Semi Related;

In the QF32 book the following crew were listed:

1 CSM Customer Service Manager
1 C/S Cabin Supervisor
11 CFA Chief Flight Attendant
9 A/C Air Chef

Does anyone know what the Air Chef roll is? How does it vary from FA? Do they have the same safety roll? (ie: sitting on doors and doing the evac)

Also, why are all the FA's "Chief Flight Attendants"?
CFA may be a 'rank' earned through time/training to allow some career progression. As the A380 may be a sought after a/c seniority may get the first pick. Just my guess, with lots of assumptions.
 
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mickeyc747

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Jetstar were well known for using Asian based staff on some domestic tag flights and flights to and from Asia. And yes they get paid a pittance.

The quality of work from an individual isn't really related to their pay level but rather the satisfaction they get from the role overall and how good they are individually. Of course though, pay does matter and if you are underpaid you are likely to leave.

I'm sure fair work Australia has a copy of some of the airline related EBA s. Qantas for example has multiple agreements and bases. Two staff on one flight might do exactly the same role but get paid much differently depending on how they are employed....

All Australian Enterprise Agreements a in the public domain. Jetstar was in front of Fair Work for the use of non Australian staff on domestic sectors.
 

Melburnian1

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Jetstar were well known for using Asian based staff on some domestic tag flights and flights to and from Asia. And yes they get paid a pittance.

The quality of work from an individual isn't really related to their pay level but rather the satisfaction they get from the role overall and how good they are individually. Of course though, pay does matter and if you are underpaid you are likely to leave.

I'm sure fair work Australia has a copy of some of the airline related EBA s. Qantas for example has multiple agreements and bases. Two staff on one flight might do exactly the same role but get paid much differently depending on how they are employed....

'Fair Work Australia' must be the most inaccurately named organisation in our wide brown land. It certainly isn't 'fair' to employers (or to Australia's growing number of unemployed or under-employed residents, many of whom are effectively 'locked out' from securing a job because our wage rates are so uncompetitive). It's a union-led cabal.

You are correct about QF, which from memory has a large number of casual staff contracted to Maurice Alexander Management or 'MAM', which is an entity established by a former trade unionist:

http://www.smh.com.au/news/business...wer-pay-cheques/2007/04/15/1176575687668.html

However, it's impossible in my view for QF to be competitive while it retains the union principles of 'seniority' and fails to adjust wages and especially allowances of all cabin crew to more realistic levels commensurate with what really, all things considered, is a fairly basic type of job. By omission or commission, QF has made a business decision that it wants to no longer be relevant to international air passengers. Whether its demise is the continuing result of a 'thousand cuts' or it just occurs on a Saturday afternoon at AJ or the next CEO's whim (supported by the Board) remains to be seen.
 
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mickeyc747

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'Fair Work Australia' must be the most inaccurately named organisation in our wide brown land. It certainly isn't 'fair' to employers (or to Australia's growing number of unemployed or under-employed residents, many of whom are effectively 'locked out' from securing a job because our wage rates are so uncompetitive. It's a union-led cabal.

You are correct about QF, which from memory has a large number of casual staff contracted to Maurice Alexander Management or 'MAM', which is an entity established by a former trade unionist.

However, it's impossible in my view for QF to be competitive while it retains the union principles of 'seniority' and fails to adjust wages and especially allowances to more realistic levels commensurate with what really, all things considered, is a fairly basic type of job.

That's why the name is changed to Fair Work Commission. Also Qantas use a lot of cheap Jet Connect staff on the A380 on QF 127 when I flew there were 6 jet connect staff that paxed from AKL
 

JessicaTam

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'Fair Work Australia' must be the most inaccurately named organisation in our wide brown land. It certainly isn't 'fair' to employers (or to Australia's growing number of unemployed or under-employed residents, many of whom are effectively 'locked out' from securing a job because our wage rates are so uncompetitive). It's a union-led cabal.

You are correct about QF, which from memory has a large number of casual staff contracted to Maurice Alexander Management or 'MAM', which is an entity established by a former trade unionist:

Welcome aboard flight to lower pay cheques - Business - Business - smh.com.au

However, it's impossible in my view for QF to be competitive while it retains the union principles of 'seniority' and fails to adjust wages and especially allowances of all cabin crew to more realistic levels commensurate with what really, all things considered, is a fairly basic type of job. By omission or commission, QF has made a business decision that it wants to no longer be relevant to international air passengers. Whether its demise is the continuing result of a 'thousand cuts' or it just occurs on a Saturday afternoon at AJ or the next CEO's whim (supported by the Board) remains to be seen.

I would have worded your first paragraph slightly differently:

'Fair Work Australia' must be the most inaccurately named organisation in our wide brown land. It certainly isn't 'fair' to employees (or to Australia's growing number of unemployed or under-employed residents, many of whom are effectively 'locked out' from a secure job because our employers claim flexibility). It's a employer-led cabal.
 

Mal

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Yep. From memory (and a QF staffer should be able to correct me) there are a number of agreements.
NZ jet connect staff.
MAM Australia staff.
London base staff.
Regular Qantas staff (iirc no new employees are employed under this... MAM is the regular hiring source).
Qf used to have a BKK base and employ staff there via a company set up there. But I think this has been exited now.
 
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mickeyc747

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I would have worded your first paragraph slightly differently:

'Fair Work Australia' must be the most inaccurately named organisation in our wide brown land. It certainly isn't 'fair' to employees (or to Australia's growing number of unemployed or under-employed residents, many of whom are effectively 'locked out' from a secure job because our employers claim flexibility). It's a employer-led cabal.

Remember Fair Work was set up by the ALP government
 

erkpod

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What's wrong with using seniority as a factor for things like rostering & transfers?
 

JessicaTam

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Remember Fair Work was set up by the ALP government
In an attempt to unwind Work Choices. I think both sides would agree it is not perfect - but probably from different perspectives.

Maybe better to have this conversation when next our paths cross! :)
 
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mickeyc747

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What's wrong with using seniority as a factor for things like rostering & transfers?

Nothing wrong with that but the Fair Work Act 2009 claims most things should be done on merit. Back when I worked as a long haul F/A we had language speakers as F/A's and most of the Japanese speakers were doing FRA's with me as all the YEN men would bid and get the NRT flights
 
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mickeyc747

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In an attempt to unwind Work Choices. I think both sides would agree it is not perfect - but probably from different perspectives.

Maybe better to have this conversation when next our paths cross! :)

Yes I would love to have that conversation and you know what I do for a living, I never agreed with Work Choices.
 

Magpie10

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Must say I would definitely prefer senior experienced cabin crew who know how to handle emergency situations and are thoroughly trained here in Oz as opposed to cabin crew sourced from third world countries everyday! You pay for what you get in all aspects of life!
 

Mal

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Must say I would definitely prefer senior experienced cabin crew who know how to handle emergency situations and are thoroughly trained here in Oz as opposed to cabin crew sourced from third world countries everyday! You pay for what you get in all aspects of life!

Interestingly a lot of overseas pilots are trained in Australia.... As opposed to cabin crew.
 
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anat0l

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Does anyone know what the Air Chef roll is?

According to milehighclub in [post=523945]this post[/post], A/C or "Air Chef" is a fairly old term which is still used, but refers to a FA which is qualified to work in Economy or Premium Economy.


I principally have no objection to, as the OP would put it, "old overweight" FAs working. All I have to say is that if they can do their jobs effectively, then that is the most important thing. No point having a young, bubbly FA who looks like someone you'd like to jump their bones, but if they fall into a heap when called upon during an emergency, they are as good as useless like the hold baggage. Of course, I'm not saying that the Asian carriers are like this, but just to make the point that a FA is there for safety first then everything else second.

How airlines maintain that their crew are and remain "qualified" is a whole different thing. Of course, if emergencies were more commonplace, we'd probably have a more reliable indicator of who actually has effective crew on board. Of course, thankfully emergencies are not exactly something you do every single day!

Notwithstanding there are also several points in Australian regulation related to work rates and so on which prevent companies like Qantas from lowering their rates to that found in other countries. Mind you, I have no idea as such, but who is to say that Qantas don't pay their FAs less than other countries which are their direct competitors? The same regulations also prevent Qantas, principally, from putting in a condition such as no FA may be of 30 years of age or greater (which is, only by rumour, apparently a condition of employment at SQ unless they become senior FAs).

I can't comment further about how much FAs get paid, since I have no idea how much they get paid, and unless I know a FA personally and felt comfortable, I'm not going to be rude in asking a FA how much they earn. All I hope is that they are paid a decent wage (preferably at least the minimum wage) and that they actually care about the passengers whose safety they are responsible for.
 

mjt57

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Re: Ask The Pilot

The senior flight attendants are, in my experience, a lot more use than the pretty young things. The Asian airline example is an extremely poor one, and not one that should be followed by anyone.
As a fellow ancient one, I would much prefer older FAs with a lot of training under their belts if it comes to an emergency, say, on a rough landing they leave the tail section behind at the runway threshold, for example. Having FAs with a couple of years of experience supervising the cabin, to me, is frightening, not to mention offensive to older FAs who are more than capable of doing the job.

Same thing for the flight crew. A mate was doing helicopter training. At a school down at Moorabin he heard some stories about one of our budget airlines. Of course, being twentieth-hand who knows how much validity there was to them, but he related stories about pilots with bugger all hours running RPT services and flying below minima coming into some airports...
 

Skyring

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I principally have no objection to, as the OP would put it, "old overweight" FAs working. All I have to say is that if they can do their jobs effectively, then that is the most important thing. No point having a young, bubbly FA who looks like someone you'd like to jump their bones, but if they fall into a heap when called upon during an emergency, they are as good as useless like the hold baggage. Of course, I'm not saying that the Asian carriers are like this, but just to make the point that a FA is there for safety first then everything else second.
It's nice to have pretty young things to enhance the cabin decor, but yeah, in an emergency I want husky cabin crew who can rip open the emergency exit, toss the door out and start heaving passengers after it.

Where safe to do so, of course.
 

Rox

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what really, all things considered, is a fairly basic type of job.

It's basic in that that a degree is not required, but they do have some and ongoing training, including for those emergencies we hope never to have, and that's when they will really prove their worth.

Whilst what they do day to day seems simple, they are the face of the airline, and a lot of people will at least partly base their decisions on airline selection, on their previous treatment - lots of mentions here.
I imagine it could be quite hard to appear immaculate, calm, collected , charming, and in control of a plane load of sometimes feral passengers all of the time.
 
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