Go Back  FlyerTalk Forums > Miles&Points > Airlines and Mileage Programs > British Airways | Executive Club
Reload this Page >

BA to close HKG base [confirmed for Cabin Crew]

BA to close HKG base [confirmed for Cabin Crew]

    Hide Wikipost
Old Sep 29, 18, 2:12 am   -   Wikipost
Please read: This is a community-maintained wiki post containing the most important information from this thread. You may edit the Wiki once you have been on FT for 90 days and have made 90 posts.
 
Last edit by: sxc
Wiki Link
Print Wikipost

Old Sep 29, 18, 12:11 pm
  #226  
FlyerTalk Evangelist, Ambassador, British Airways Executive Club
 
Join Date: Jun 2008
Location: Somewhere between 0 and 13,000 metres high
Programs: AF/KL Life Plat, BA GfL+CCR, Aclub Plat, Hilton Diam, Marriott Gold, blablablah, etc
Posts: 25,098
Originally Posted by cuspidor View Post
Disappointed at the way BA has total disregard for its HKG staff.
BA has no particular disregard for its HKG staff. As a company, BA just has complete disregard for its staff full stop and has had for a very long time. Quite frankly, if they could safely fly planes without any cabin crew, run operations without any airport staff, save a few pennies by getting rid of reservation agents, and have self-flown planes, the only staff BA would have would have long been in Waterside. It does not try to be a nice company to work for and have a history of being very cynical when it comes to dealing with the people who are, by any standard, their best asset. In short, they couldn't care less about them.
orbitmic is offline  
Old Sep 29, 18, 3:12 pm
  #227  
Suspended
 
Join Date: May 2006
Location: HKG
Programs: A3, TK *G; JL JGC; SPG,Hilton Gold
Posts: 9,959
Originally Posted by BAEC View Post
£45,657 of £88,888 goal. Like the choice of 8’s ...

No. 8 has long been regarded as the luckiest number in Chinese culture. With pronunciation of 'Ba' in Chinese, no. 8 sounds similar to the word 'Fa', which means to make a fortune. It contains meanings of prosperity, success and high social status too
and in HKG and the CANTONESE context its baat and faat respectively

Originally Posted by rapidex View Post
Except when it is the typhoon signal in HK
theres still 9 and 10
BAEC likes this.
kaka is offline  
Old Sep 29, 18, 3:42 pm
  #228  
 
Join Date: May 2011
Posts: 2,349
While I agree with the general sentiment that the letter was poorly written (I'm not one for symbolism though so I don't fully grasp how using nicer language would have made being made redundant more pleasant) and that the amount of notice given is morally wrong (on the assumption they weren't told this was going to be a possibility?), I'm curious what other companies you all use.

The amount of outrage and disgust expressed for what is, in global terms, a relatively minor event seems a bit misplaced. Many popular companies do far, far worse things to their staff. Were you this outraged, for example, when you learnt the people making your iPhone kept committing suicide because of the conditions? I certainly didn't see any crowdfunding to help out their families when that became public knowledge.

I guess this is different because people here have a deep attachment (good or bad!) to BA - it just seems overblown.
HIDDY and Talking Penguin like this.
callum9999 is offline  
Old Sep 29, 18, 5:05 pm
  #229  
 
Join Date: May 2006
Location: London Heathrow
Programs: British Airways Executive Club
Posts: 702
I wondered how long it would be before there was a post wondering what all of the hullabaloo was about and comparing it to some other workers’ plight. It’s the same when people go on strike and say, “well, you think you have it bad but compare it to X, Y or Z ...” It’s irrelevant.

The people who set up this GoFundMe are colleagues of those who’ve been affected. They’ve worked with those people, in some cases, for over 30 years. The callous nature of not only the initial action but also the subsequent events have outraged colleagues, and in turn, customers. There’s absolutely no reason to divert attention in this BA thread, for BA customers and colleagues away from the heinous (if legal) behaviour of BA managers and their stooges.
DYKWIA, lukew, kaka and 3 others like this.
Lite is offline  
Old Sep 29, 18, 5:10 pm
  #230  
FlyerTalk Evangelist
 
Join Date: Aug 2006
Location: Argentina
Programs: BAEC/IB
Posts: 38,086
I haven't decided to donate to the fund as I'm not quite sure what the money is to be used for and by whom.
HIDDY is offline  
Old Sep 29, 18, 5:12 pm
  #231  
 
Join Date: Jul 2010
Location: Sydney, Nova Scotia
Posts: 475
Hi callum9999.

Your opinion is of course as valid as any other but I'm content that you'll find yourself in a minority on FT. A few comments in response if I may:

1) You describe this as a "relatively minor" blooper in the overall scheme of corporate wrongdoing. Sure, but try telling that to a loyal 30 year servant of the company to whom this was their life and perhaps only family income. By your criterion, no disaster befalling an individual or small group should ever register. Yes, any business sometimes has to make hard decisions, but if the reporting is correct, this particular cut appears to have been made in a heartless and unnecessarily mean fashion. BA can well afford the gesture of treating its worldwide staff in a consistent and caring way under such circumstances, rather than penny-pinching behind the excuse of what may be minimal local employment protections. As a result of this behaviour, many of us who have interacted with the affected staff are expressing concern and hopefully in many cases, also giving a bit of financial assistance via the wiki link above to improve the outcome.

2) You ask why we're not supporting fundraising for iPhone victims. Well, this is a BA customer forum where discussion is limited to BA, not Trump, Brexit or even Sulawesi tsunamis. We express our thoughts on those elsewhere. Why do you presume that the FT members showing sympathy for the HKG staff are not also involved in social, political or charity causes outside this narrow forum, or indeed are not involved in ensuring that their own companies or organisations are honourable employers?

3) You say that the reaction on FT has been "overblown", but I'd suggest that you have missed the issue of context. Many of us here are long term users of BA. I for example have been a customer since the days of visiting my expat parents on Comet 4s in the 60's. We have shared BA's journey through the pride of the "World's Favourite" and the lows of financial and operational difficulties, industrial action and IT failures, and in general, have always wished success to an airline which transcends the day to day shortcomings and leadership personalities. There is however, and rightly in my opinion, a widely expressed belief in this forum that under the current watch the company has ceased to be either great or good, and that is sad as I would like my kids to be as proud of BA as I was. I say that as a business owner and investor and mindful of IAG's recent financial success. Walsh and Cruz have achieved much for the shareholders, but for a company to be profitable, robust and respected (which perhaps is what I mean by "great") in the long term, it must surely pay attention to the interests of all its stakeholders. I fear for BA if it doesn't keep staff and customers on-side for when tough times return.

Last edited by Bullswood; Sep 30, 18 at 1:04 am Reason: typo
Bullswood is offline  
Old Sep 29, 18, 6:03 pm
  #232  
Senior Mod and Moderator: Aegean Miles&Bonus and British Airways
 
Join Date: Jan 2009
Location: Norwich, UK
Programs: A3*G, BA Gold, BD Gold (in memoriam), IHG Spire Ambassador
Posts: 6,266
A large number of posts have been removed which added nothing to the discussion but were mostly a personal spat. This sort of bickering is a massive turn-off to visitors to FT, and dissuades them from also contributing.

A very broad brush was taken to bring the thread back to normality, so apologies to those who made valid points amongst the disruption which have been removed as a consequence. Please feel free to re-post these as a stand-alone.

/mod
NWIFlyer is offline  
Old Sep 29, 18, 6:15 pm
  #233  
 
Join Date: Jan 2016
Location: South East England
Programs: BA Exec Club; U2 Flight Club; Hilton Honors; IHG
Posts: 521
Originally Posted by Bullswood View Post
Hi callum9999.
...

2) You ask why we're not fundraising for iPhone victims. Well, this is a BA customer forum where discussion is limited to BA, not Trump, Brexit or even Sulawesi tsunamis. We express our thoughts on those elsewhere. Why do you presume that the FT members showing sympathy for the HKG staff are not also involved in social, political or charity causes outside this narrow forum, or indeed are not involved in ensuring that their own companies or organisations are honourable employers?
Completely agree. And sometimes standing up against a smaller injustice prevents a larger one. And sometimes the large injustices are insurmountable the short term - so pick your battles! Please let’s all chip in to help loyal BA staff.
flygirl68 and wrp96 like this.
memesweeper is offline  
Old Sep 29, 18, 6:36 pm
  #234  
 
Join Date: Jan 2002
Posts: 1,241
Originally Posted by HIDDY View Post
I haven't decided to donate to the fund as I'm not quite sure what the money is to be used for and by whom.
The money is to be distributed equally to the 85 crew members who were employed at the now former HKG crew base. It's to help tide them over now that they are abruptly out of a job. The money will be sent to Carol Ng who is head of the HKG ICC union.
kaka, HIDDY, flygirl68 and 1 others like this.
Skimo is offline  
Old Sep 29, 18, 11:47 pm
  #235  
Suspended
 
Join Date: May 2006
Location: HKG
Programs: A3, TK *G; JL JGC; SPG,Hilton Gold
Posts: 9,959
Originally Posted by Skimo View Post
The money is to be distributed equally to the 85 crew members who were employed at the now former HKG crew base. It's to help tide them over now that they are abruptly out of a job. The money will be sent to Carol Ng who is head of the HKG ICC union.
i guess this is like how normally at strikes the workers are funded by the union - except this time round they have nothing to strike on because they dont have anything to work on all of a sudden.
wrp96 likes this.
kaka is offline  
Old Sep 30, 18, 12:51 am
  #236  
FlyerTalk Evangelist, Ambassador, British Airways Executive Club
 
Join Date: Jun 2008
Location: Somewhere between 0 and 13,000 metres high
Programs: AF/KL Life Plat, BA GfL+CCR, Aclub Plat, Hilton Diam, Marriott Gold, blablablah, etc
Posts: 25,098
Originally Posted by callum9999 View Post
While I agree with the general sentiment that the letter was poorly written (I'm not one for symbolism though so I don't fully grasp how using nicer language would have made being made redundant more pleasant) and that the amount of notice given is morally wrong (on the assumption they weren't told this was going to be a possibility?), I'm curious what other companies you all use.

The amount of outrage and disgust expressed for what is, in global terms, a relatively minor event seems a bit misplaced. Many popular companies do far, far worse things to their staff. Were you this outraged, for example, when you learnt the people making your iPhone kept committing suicide because of the conditions? I certainly didn't see any crowdfunding to help out their families when that became public knowledge.

I guess this is different because people here have a deep attachment (good or bad!) to BA - it just seems overblown.
Again, I think that this particular ‘file’ is not a one off but rather symptomatic of the way conceives it’s relationship with its workforce.

You are right that many companies will similarly have no regard for their staff, and of course, in places where employment regulation is lower, the effects can be a lot more dramatic and shocking, but equally many others make a point of not treating them as disposable (and ideally disposed) quantities. There is a myriad of studies on how fostering positive employee-employee relationship can be a major asset leading to greater decisions quality, performance, productivity etc. Not everyone agrees with those studies and some think you are still better off with the ‘ba way’, but conversely, many companies do subscribe to those studies’ model and invest a lot in workforce protection and involvement. It’s neither limited to companies run by 1970s hippy like bosses nor to companies that end up miserably failing, in fact some of the world’s most iconically managed groups take a very different approach from Ba’s. Even in the airline world, ba is by no means a universal model.

so of course, in the grand scheme of things, ba is neither unique nor some sort of worst villain ever. However, it does take a view of employer-employee relationship which does not embarrass itself with any pretence (let alone reality) of care, empowerment, or protection where some other companies do including within the same sector.

It it is not absurd nor illegitimate that people interested in the aviation sector (or they wouldn’t be on that forum), in ba, and regularly exposed to its staff may have strong opinion about those far from universal managerial choices and also express some sympathy and solidarity with staff they care about.
Bullswood, wrp96, rapidex and 1 others like this.
orbitmic is offline  
Old Sep 30, 18, 1:41 am
  #237  
 
Join Date: Mar 2010
Location: London
Programs: BAEC, AA, Emirates, Hilton, Hyatt, Taj Hotels
Posts: 2,167
Well said Bullswood (#231) - couldn't agree more.

I too have been a BA flyer since the 1960's and as someone living and working in London I too want to be proud of BA and see them do well. It's sad to see that in the 15 years since I joined my current employer we've gone from more or less 100% mandated BA travel (chairman is a Premier) to pretty much using BA in Europe only. Travel has drifted to other carriers, often on cost grounds, but there is a widely held 'dislike' for BA. There seems to a vibe out there that BA just isn't what it used to be, and basically doesn't care, and stories like this (which admittedly is not a talking point in the UK) just chip away at BA 's brand along with all the other stuff mentioned here ad nauseam.

Yes, OK IAG is profitable and you don't become profitable operating a charity. Sometimes tough decisions have to be made. But it is how you make and deliver these decisions which define your company. Sounds as though they may have '[email protected]' this up anyway which, if true, also helps define how people feel about you. In your headlong rush to shave cost you cause more damage than good. Here the outcome is likely to be relatively localised ill-will that will doubtless blow over - although I am struggling to see how this helps them in HKG in the long term. Would it really have killed them to, say, have given everyone notice now that they planned to close the base in January? If nothing else it would have given them the time to get the process right! This would have given the local staff the opportunity, maybe, to re-negotiate their terms or come up with alternative plans. At the very least they could have used this time to find alternative employment etc. BA is acting here as though is on the brink of going under, taking harsh radical and painful measures to stave off bankruptcy, backs to the wall and all that.

Some people with long memories might remember the story about Concorde. When it first operated with BA it lost a lot of money and they considered axing the fleet. Some managers went to Lord King with alternative strategies, and he effectively gave them the keys and told them they had a year to turn the operation around. Which they did and Concorde went on to become a great flagship for BA. The current management probably wouldn't have bought Concorde in the first place, but the point here is that short-term or ill thought-out cuts are often a lazy option.

The other thing that gets me about this is that BA loves to play the 'heritage card' when it suits them, but in reality the current management do seem to want to kick sand at that at every opportunity. Perhaps this is what happens when you have a Spaniard reporting to an Irishman.

BOAC used to have a slogan which went 'All around the World, BOAC takes good care of you'. Now people feel more along the lines of '........., BA [expletive deleted] all over you'
kaka, pomkiwi, Bullswood and 2 others like this.

Last edited by Prospero; Sep 30, 18 at 2:54 am Reason: to comply with rule 16
Betteronacamel is offline  
Old Sep 30, 18, 4:24 am
  #238  
FlyerTalk Evangelist
 
Join Date: Jul 2006
Location: Hong Kong
Programs: FB AF Silver, BA Gold
Posts: 11,921
BA sudden closing of its HK base is somewhat shocking (although it was widely expected in HK) and rightly led to emotional posts here.

But it might be useful to treat it in the HK context. The labour market is very flexible and fluid. There is basically no unemployment. A 2.8% jobless rate is below what economists rate as full employment. We are talking here about low-level workers and it is common for such workers to change company with a day notice (or whatever short period their contract require). Conversely companies lay off very flexibly. One does not need months to find a new job, and certainly not in the growing airline industry. The labour culture is just very different from that of "protective" Europe.
In May 2017, Cathay Pacific laid off with immediate effect 190 staff at its HQ without notice. Like in the BA HK case, one suspected that something was coming, but there was no notice for those affected staff.

As HongKonger, I am not shocked by this practice, and I have become accustomed to this culture and see it working well. To me, the big question is what is the ex gratia payment (redundancy package) on top of the legal requirements. CX staff were not unhappy about it and there was no protest or demonstration. Apparently, BA mistake was to be unclear about those ex gratia terms:
https://www.scmp.com/news/hong-kong/...ffer-hong-kong

Frankly, there is no rational for keeping a HK base. BA is now down to two flights a day That made sense when BA had flights from SIN and HKG continuing to Australia many years ago, but now with two flights? Over the years HK has become very, very expensive and compensation for airline workers reflect that. As opposed to SIngapore, English skills have strongly declined in HK (while mandarin is on the rise) and are getting pretty poor among the kind of people recruited as FA (CX/KA FAs are increasingly less proficient in English). It is easy to find mandarin and cantonese speaking staff in London, and Europe-sourcing is the practice adopted by all European/American airlines. I also understand why BA needs to layoff with "immediate" effect for operational reasons. With a small crew (85) operating two daily flights, an airline can hardly give a six-month notice and see the FAs leaving progressively during the six-month period as they find a new job. Even in Europe, one can simply include the legal notice period as part (on top) of the severance package. That brings back the crucial issue of how large is the ex-gratia package offered by BA. So far we don't know.

Last edited by brunos; Sep 30, 18 at 4:51 am
brunos is online now  
Old Sep 30, 18, 5:00 am
  #239  
 
Join Date: Jan 2002
Posts: 1,241
Originally Posted by brunos View Post
BA sudden closing of its HK base is somewhat shocking (although it was widely expected in HK) and rightly led to emotional posts here.

But it might be useful to treat it in the HK context. The labour market is very flexible and fluid. There is basically no unemployment. A 2.8% jobless rate is below what economists rate as full employment. We are talking here about low-level workers and it is common for such workers to change company with a day notice (or whatever short period their contract require). Conversely companies lay off very flexibly. One does not need months to find a new job, and certainly not in the growing airline industry. The labour culture is just very different from that of "protective" Europe.
In May 2017, Cathay Pacific laid off with immediate effect 190 staff at its HQ without notice. Like in the BA HK case, one suspected that something was coming, but there was no notice for those affected staff.
Well our HKG ICC base are all Hong Kongers and they seem pretty shocked by the way BA have behaved. You say that HK's 'flexible and fluid' (i.e poor worker's rights) labour market works well. But for whom? The minimum wage is incredibly low, ordinary HKers generally have to work very long hours and/or have several jobs. I imagine that situation is a wet dream for some, but people like Carol Ng would probably have a different opinion.
Skimo is offline  
Old Sep 30, 18, 5:42 am
  #240  
FlyerTalk Evangelist
 
Join Date: Jul 2006
Location: Hong Kong
Programs: FB AF Silver, BA Gold
Posts: 11,921
Originally Posted by Skimo View Post
Well our HKG ICC base are all Hong Kongers and they seem pretty shocked by the way BA have behaved. You say that HK's 'flexible and fluid' (i.e poor worker's rights) labour market works well. But for whom? The minimum wage is incredibly low, ordinary HKers generally have to work very long hours and/or have several jobs. I imagine that situation is a wet dream for some, but people like Carol Ng would probably have a different opinion.
Do you have access to the ex gratia data offered by BA?
brunos is online now  

Thread Tools
Search this Thread
Search Engine: