Cabin crew roles and pay rates

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MEL_Traveller

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Well this is a pretty broad statement, between 2 companies (both Australian) there can be a massive discrepancy between the pay rates on offer for the same job. It even happens internally within the same company. So saying "everyone should earn $x to do job type x" is living in a fantasy world.

Of course there is also the argument that if say JQ hires people from Asia who then works on a SYD-MEL at Asian not Australian rates prior to heading back home, is this really any different than a manager outsourcing some of their IT work to a call center in India?

Not saying I agree with off shoring, but there is a strong argument for paying people a fair wage based on where they live, not necessarily where (or for whom) they work.

its called the award rate, and there is a minimum wage based on various categories in each job. not every cabin crew member will get paid the same... it depends on training, rank, years service etc etc. but basically my argument is indeed 'yes', if you are flying for an Australian company (especially to or from or within australia) you should be paid at the Australian award.
 

harvyk

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its called the award rate, and there is a minimum wage based on various categories in each job. not every cabin crew member will get paid the same... it depends on training, rank, years service etc etc. but basically my argument is indeed 'yes', if you are flying for an Australian company (especially to or from or within australia) you should be paid at the Australian award.

(I would like to point out I sort of agree with you on this one, companies are a bit too quick to "globalize" themselves when it suits, but it's fun to play devils advocate)

How is this any different than a person who works over here for say a US based company who then travels to the US for work purposes but they are been paid less than their US counterparts? Should the Australian be paid at a higher rate whilst they are in the US simply because their counterparts are entitled to a higher wage? Should they not be paid simply an allowance which allows them to live whilst there, and yet still paid at a rate which is appropriate for their job over here?

On this forum, there is a lot of people who travel for work, when they travel they are still paid based on Australian wages, not the wages of where they are visiting. I'd imagine the OS cabin crew working the SYD-MEL would have some sort of travel allowance to cover the costs of traveling here in AU, but again their wages would remain what they would be earning had they not traveled here.
 

markis10

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On this forum, there is a lot of people who travel for work, when they travel they are still paid based on Australian wages, not the wages of where they are visiting. I'd imagine the OS cabin crew working the SYD-MEL would have some sort of travel allowance to cover the costs of traveling here in AU, but again their wages would remain what they would be earning had they not traveled here.

Speaking to the Thai crew on JQ35, they dont get anything different for a run Australia vs elsewhere.
 

Mogul

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it seems staff wages are an easy target? are the [cabin crew] staff responsible for fleet investment decisions? are the staff responsible for the fines flowing from illegal activity such as price fixing? are the staff responsible for the erosion of benefits under the frequent flyer program which drive some customers away? are the staff responsible for decisions such as no through-check of bags unless all on the one ticket? (qf loses three round-trip business class tickets MEL-SYD a year from me on that basis alone), are the staff responsible for not putting full flat beds into business class on regional flights, or for not offering premium economy on a330 flights? all of which drive some customers and revenue to competitors?

as far as I am concerned it should be an equal day's pay for an equal day's work. if you are doing the same job as an Australian, working alongside that Australian, you should get paid the same wages as the Australian. we don't stand for women being paid less (even though there's a way to go on that yet), nor should we stand for cheap labour on any other reason if that is indeed what is happening.

Yes staff wages are an easier target. Fuel cost's what it cost's, staff wages and conditions are negotiable.
 

harvyk

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Yes staff wages are an easier target

I don't know if they are quite the easy target which they are made out to be, unions have shown in the past (and no doubt in the future as well) that they have no problems causing massive disruptions to a company if they don't like what is put on the table. Then again, AJ has also proven he has no problems causing massive disruptions if he doesn't like the unions counter offer.
 

MEL_Traveller

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(I would like to point out I sort of agree with you on this one, companies are a bit too quick to "globalize" themselves when it suits, but it's fun to play devils advocate)

How is this any different than a person who works over here for say a US based company who then travels to the US for work purposes but they are been paid less than their US counterparts? Should the Australian be paid at a higher rate whilst they are in the US simply because their counterparts are entitled to a higher wage? Should they not be paid simply an allowance which allows them to live whilst there, and yet still paid at a rate which is appropriate for their job over here?

On this forum, there is a lot of people who travel for work, when they travel they are still paid based on Australian wages, not the wages of where they are visiting. I'd imagine the OS cabin crew working the SYD-MEL would have some sort of travel allowance to cover the costs of traveling here in AU, but again their wages would remain what they would be earning had they not traveled here.

the US counterpart might have something to say about it however! :)

its an interesting issue. personally, if I was assigned to working overseas for 'x' amount of time I would be weighing up the various factors... is my accommodation included? what work experience am I getting? how much fun will I be having in that other country (sightseeing, socializing, having a break from the routine of home)? is this part of a development plan so I can return to a higher position in Australia?

would I be happy to accept a one or two year posting where I know I am being used only because I represent a cheaper labour cost to the company? probably not (but again that depends on my ability to move and commitments such as a mortgage back home).

but with cabin crew we are talking about (essentially) a service type industry, with pressures that potentially lead to exploitation (if you don't want the job there are 10,000 queuing up to take it). one of the things Australia can be proud of (at least somewhere way back in the past) is its union movement... 8 hours work, 8 hours rest, 8 hours play. we have advancements in equal pay, maternity leave, careers leave, and protection from unfair dismissal to name a few things.

i don't necessarily have a problem with an Australian company off shore employing off shore workers at local rates (provided there is no exploitation and working conditions are safe). but I have a problem with importing labour for the sole purpose of lowering costs and circumventing Australian expectations. it is essentially exploiting that person.

would we say it is acceptable if an Australian company turned to its married female employees and told them they only needed half pay because their husbands already earn a living and that should be enough? of course not. so why should we get away with the argument that a Thai employee only 'needs' x amount of dollars and so that's all their worth? in Australia one of the measures we use for wages is productivity... and so by that argument, if a person is doing the same work, why not pay them the same?

if you are employed by Thai airways... you can pay accordingly. but if you are employed by an Australian, flying into Australia, taking the job of an Australian, then you should be paid the same as an Australian.
 

harvyk

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its an interesting issue. personally, if I was assigned to working overseas for 'x' amount of time I would be weighing up the various factors... is my accommodation included? what work experience am I getting? how much fun will I be having in that other country (sightseeing, socializing, having a break from the routine of home)? is this part of a development plan so I can return to a higher position in Australia?

would I be happy to accept a one or two year posting where I know I am being used only because I represent a cheaper labour cost to the company? probably not (but again that depends on my ability to move and commitments such as a mortgage back home).

but with cabin crew we are talking about (essentially) a service type industry, with pressures that potentially lead to exploitation (if you don't want the job there are 10,000 queuing up to take it). one of the things Australia can be proud of (at least somewhere way back in the past) is its union movement... 8 hours work, 8 hours rest, 8 hours play. we have advancements in equal pay, maternity leave, careers leave, and protection from unfair dismissal to name a few things.

i don't necessarily have a problem with an Australian company off shore employing off shore workers at local rates (provided there is no exploitation and working conditions are safe). but I have a problem with importing labour for the sole purpose of lowering costs and circumventing Australian expectations. it is essentially exploiting that person.

would we say it is acceptable if an Australian company turned to its married female employees and told them they only needed half pay because their husbands already earn a living and that should be enough? of course not. so why should we get away with the argument that a Thai employee only 'needs' x amount of dollars and so that's all their worth? in Australia one of the measures we use for wages is productivity... and so by that argument, if a person is doing the same work, why not pay them the same?

if you are employed by Thai airways... you can pay accordingly. but if you are employed by an Australian, flying into Australia, taking the job of an Australian, then you should be paid the same as an Australian.

I was actually thinking of short term trips, not long term. So there and back within a week or two type trips, not living there for 6 months type trips. I would imagine that the JQ cabin crew who are based OS arrive in AU, do one or two dom flights and then depart on an international flight in much the same manner a QF cabin crew working on QF107 would fly into LAX, do the LAX-JFK vv flights and then fly back to AU.



so why should we get away with the argument that a Thai employee only 'needs' x amount of dollars and so that's all their worth? in Australia one of the measures we use for wages is productivity... and so by that argument, if a person is doing the same work, why not pay them the same?

Why should an IBM person here in AU be paid at a different rate to an IBM person working in NZ? Surely all IBM people should be paid the same rate right across the world based on US rates (as IBM is ultimately a US company) without taking into account local living arrangements / local cost of living? What if an IBM person visited AU for 4 weeks to help on a project, should they be paid AU rates or US rates?

Also we don't use productivity as a measure for wages in Australia, the measure we use is either who is a better negotiator or who has signed up to a union which has the better negotiator. I have seen many examples of less-productive people been paid far higher amounts than their productive colleagues simply because the less-productive person was a good negotiator.

Edit: I should point out that I do believe JQ are really stretching the friendship using OS based cabin crew on OS conditions on AU Dom flights, and it may one day even be proven in a court that it is unlawful. But in proving that, it could also open up a very big can of worms.
 

markis10

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Why should an IBM person here in AU be paid at a different rate to an IBM person working in NZ? Surely all IBM people should be paid the same rate right across the world based on US rates (as IBM is ultimately a US company) without taking into account local living arrangements / local cost of living? What if an IBM person visited AU for 4 weeks to help on a project, should they be paid AU rates or US rates?

Somewhat naive statement that one, multinationals pay based on local costs of living and what the market for labor is like locally, having worked for a multinational (Intel) that had a lot to do with IBM, I know IBM are the same, nothing is referenced back to what someone in the US gets paid for doing the same job.
 

harvyk

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Somewhat naive statement that one, multinationals pay based on local costs of living and what the market for labor is like locally, having worked for a multinational (Intel) that had a lot to do with IBM, I know IBM are the same, nothing is referenced back to what someone in the US gets paid for doing the same job.

But they do permit you to travel to other area's where that multinational operates, and they don't increase (excluding travel allowances) or decrease your wage during those travels.

I spent several years working for multinationals (including an excruciating 3 months for IBM) and also know that they pay on local market rates. I'm simply using it as an example of how come it's considered OK in one scenario but not another.
 

markis10

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But they do permit you to travel to other area's where that multinational operates, and they don't increase (excluding travel allowances) or decrease your wage during those travels.

Short answer yes, no change when your overseas working, unless the position becomes a permanent posting. That of course is for temporary assignments, where a need is ongoing local conditions apply.
 

MEL_Traveller

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Also we don't use productivity as a measure for wages in Australia, the measure we use is either who is a better negotiator or who has signed up to a union which has the better negotiator. I have seen many examples of less-productive people been paid far higher amounts than their productive colleagues simply because the less-productive person was a good negotiator.

certainly one of the measures for public service pay rises is an increase in productivity. that is written in to many agreements (along side cost of living increases).

private sector is the same... if you want to go in and negotiate your worth, one of the measures is your output, or productivity.

if someone is less productive either they're very smart in being able to get away with it (i say half in jest that they get some bonus points from me for being able to do that!!), or they get dealt with by their manager as part of their performance review, or if they are a contractor they don't get invited back.
 

harvyk

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certainly one of the measures for public service pay rises is an increase in productivity. that is written in to many agreements (along side cost of living increases).

private sector is the same... if you want to go in and negotiate your worth, one of the measures is your output, or productivity.

if someone is less productive either they're very smart in being able to get away with it (i say half in jest that they get some bonus points from me for being able to do that!!), or they get dealt with by their manager as part of their performance review, or if they are a contractor they don't get invited back.

You can use productivity as a bargaining chip for sure, and as much as we'd love it to be the be all and end all there are many factors which will come into play, including how much the manager likes you, how well your company is doing compared to other companies, even the way the stars are positioned (especially if your manager believes in astrology) on the day you go in and negotiate your pay will have an outcome on what you are paid which will bare little resemblance to your productivity.

In my experience, numbers can play a role in if a raise happens or not, but unless it's a commission based role, they play little part in deciding the ultimate income for the employee.

A perfect example, a friend of mine's gov't department (we'll call it Dept A) recently merged with another gov't department (we'll call it Dept B). Because she was on an agreement with Dept A, she earns $50,000 pa. But Dept B was paying $60,000 for the same position. This means that she is been paid $10,000 less than those who where in Dept B doing the same job. To make it worse, all new hires are on Dept B's agreement, which means that new hires are earning $10,000 more than she is. However she can't be given any extra because Dept A's contract (which she has signed) does not allow it.
 

MEL_Traveller

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You can use productivity as a bargaining chip for sure, and as much as we'd love it to be the be all and end all there are many factors which will come into play, including how much the manager likes you, how well your company is doing compared to other companies, even the way the stars are positioned (especially if your manager believes in astrology) on the day you go in and negotiate your pay will have an outcome on what you are paid which will bare little resemblance to your productivity.

In my experience, numbers can play a role in if a raise happens or not, but unless it's a commission based role, they play little part in deciding the ultimate income for the employee.

A perfect example, a friend of mine's gov't department (we'll call it Dept A) recently merged with another gov't department (we'll call it Dept B). Because she was on an agreement with Dept A, she earns $50,000 pa. But Dept B was paying $60,000 for the same position. This means that she is been paid $10,000 less than those who where in Dept B doing the same job. To make it worse, all new hires are on Dept B's agreement, which means that new hires are earning $10,000 more than she is. However she can't be given any extra because Dept A's contract (which she has signed) does not allow it.

agree, which is why I have said 'one' of the measures is productivity.

your friend's case is interesting. Victorian public sector has a single pay scale for example that would avoid these types of issues.

my immediate though is that your friend would apply for her position at level transfer at the next opening and receive the higher pay. I'm surprised there's not some sort of union action happening to rectify this?
 

MEL_Traveller

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the article in The Australian, 28 July 2011 'jet star cabin crew complain of fatigue' is an important reminder (sorry can't post link because I think it's behind a pay-wall)

in it, Thai employed cabin crew refused to staff a syd-Mel flight due to fatigue and were reprimanded.

their base salary is stated as $258 a month plus $7 per hour flying. assuming they are permitted to fly 90 hours a month under international law, that comes to $888 a month (2011 figures).

I'm not sure how that is fair. and their ability to complain is another matter.

in your example working for IBM you are an educated westerner. you know and enjoy fairly similar legal protections around the western world... if something was wrong you'd have the opportunity to complain. I don't know what sort of protections the Thai crew have? surely they should enjoy the same rights and protections as those they are working alongside?
 

Mwenenzi

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And herein lies the problem - the whole cost structure in Australia, of which wages are the major component......
Here is Australia it is the add on's the basic hourly/annual wage that soon adds up: annual leave, annual leave loading, statutory/public holidays, sick days, overtimes rates, allowances (for a wide range of things), superannuation, payroll tax, workers compensation insurance, rostered days offs, training levies, long service leave, maternity leave, parential leave, and more, and then some more $$ again. [e.g Union picnic day]. Do not have these in Asia and less in most of the western world, including the USA.
 
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And herein lies the problem - the whole cost structure in Australia, of which wages are the major component. I don't disagree with your sentiments, but the problem is Australian airlines are competing with those from other countries where the staff get paid less than half of what our people get. It's certainly not a level playing field. That's no problem if people are prepared to pay more to fly with QF or VA - but how many people, even on AFF, tell us that price is the determining factor in their choice of flights?

Yep I agree with this. Especially when you consider that a lot of the carriers against which QF is competing are from these countries (many in Asia) where wages are simply lower. It doesn't necessarily mean that you are getting inferior personnel. An above average wage for top university graduate or young professional could be half (or even less) than what it is in Australia, which means that the airlines can afford to take the very best candidates, while undercutting other countries when it comes to wages. The simple fact is that the international nature of commercial aviation means that the playing field is far from level when it comes to personnel costs (baggage handlers, ground staff, reservations staff etc. would also be cheaper in many other countries).
 

ozbeachbabe

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the article in The Australian, 28 July 2011 'jet star cabin crew complain of fatigue' is an important reminder (sorry can't post link because I think it's behind a pay-wall)

A friend was a DRW based JQ F/A & they were constantly fatigued as it was all mainly round trip back of the clock flying such as DRW/SIN/DRW, DRW/SGN/DRW, DRW/DPS/DRW so the return leg was the overnight flight & they'd do this 5 days in a row.

They'd sign off that morning only to be flying out that same afternoon about 1600 doing the same thing all over again. By the time she'd get home & finally get to sleep it was around 1000 then Ops would be calling call a couple of hours later wanting her to come in early & do an earlier duty so that ruined any chance of several hours continuous sleep. There was no set mandatory rest period than was enforced as 'for operational reasons' the company could call them earlier & they did.

I don't think even an AFFer would even attempt 5 back to back flights such as this as a passenger so you have to feel for the crew having to work these crazy hours. If they had a quick kip in the last row during a break they were that tired it was really hard to wake them up when their break was over.

That kind of lifestyle was just unsustainable.
 
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Hvr

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Here is Australia it is the add on's the basic hourly/annual wage that soon adds up: annual leave, annual leave loading, statutory/public holidays, sick days, overtimes rates, allowances (for a wide range of things), superannuation, payroll tax, workers compensation insurance, rostered days offs, training levies, long service leave, maternity leave, parential leave, and more, and then some more $$ again. [e.g Union picnic day]. Do not have these in Asia and less in most of the western world, including the USA.

Actually they do have public holidays in other countries, some have sick leave, virtually all have workers compensation of some sort, a 13th monthly pay packet isn't unusual in Asia.

All countries have different expenses for their workers, whilst Australian expenses might be higher I suggest the biggest problem we have in Australia is incompetent management. It is all too easy to say that unions etc hinder productivity but management let them get the upper hand. Also, union membership is at its lowest level now than at anytime in history.

When management refuses to share their vision, listen to their workers and bring them along with the business then we're in trouble. How long will the workers be blamed for management failures?
 

Melburnian1

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Actually they do have public holidays in other countries, some have sick leave, virtually all have workers compensation of some sort, a 13th monthly pay packet isn't unusual in Asia.

All countries have different expenses for their workers, whilst Australian expenses might be higher I suggest the biggest problem we have in Australia is incompetent management. It is all too easy to say that unions etc hinder productivity but management let them get the upper hand. Also, union membership is at its lowest level now than at anytime in history.

When management refuses to share their vision, listen to their workers and bring them along with the business then we're in trouble. How long will the workers be blamed for management failures?

Hvr, this is a bit simplistic. In many cases managements in Australia are forced (in the sectors that remain unionised) to accept the union's way 'or the highway.'

This is backed up by so-called 'Fair Work Australia' that has more ex unionists on it than ex employer representatives. FWA is in favour of massive regulation of the labour market in Oz, which coupled with the overall extremely high cost base as JohnPhelan suggests makes doing business in Oz challenging, particularly in sub-sectors like aviation where competitors from overseas often have lower staff costs and where many passengers make a decision on who to fly with based mostly on price as the latter view air travelo as a 'commodity' or a 'grudge purchase'.
 
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harvyk

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All countries have different expenses for their workers, whilst Australian expenses might be higher I suggest the biggest problem we have in Australia is incompetent management. It is all too easy to say that unions etc hinder productivity but management let them get the upper hand. Also, union membership is at its lowest level now than at anytime in history.

Whilst you don't have to look too far to find incompetent management in Australia, but I don't think that is the source of our woes either.

We also need to be careful in labelling a manager as incompetent. When you are not in a management role it's really easy to make decisions for three reasons

1. A bad decision is not on your head.
2. You often don't see the big picture, just the part of the picture which directly relates to what you are doing.
3. You forget the 10 good decisions made by management for the company and focus on the 1 bad decision which affects you.

Having managed teams in the past, I can assure you it was not easy, and I'm positive on more than one occasion guys in my team where heading home cursing my name / calling me an idiot. Of course from the point of view of what was best for the project / client short term they where right, I could easily have been seen as making a bad choice, in terms of what was best for the long term big picture, that was another story.
 
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