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BA to close HKG base [confirmed for Cabin Crew]

BA to close HKG base [confirmed for Cabin Crew]

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Old Sep 29, 18, 2:12 am   -   Wikipost
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Old Sep 30, 18, 8:22 am
  #241  
 
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My US colleague thinks the sort of labor laws BA takes advantage of actually helps job creation. His view is that the flexibility to easily hire and fire makes companies take on more people because getting rid of them is easy compared to Europe where it is not.

I can see that up to a point but I think the cost of getting rid of people should be much more closely tied to the companies ability to pay as well as decent notice periods/redundancy payments. BA should have given some prior warning and realize that their current profitability is down in part to those staff currently employed. Saying thank you is not enough.
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Old Sep 30, 18, 8:58 am
  #242  
 
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Tragic...
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Old Sep 30, 18, 9:02 am
  #243  
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I just felt a pang of sympathy for the staff who were so abruptly dismissed by BA. I felt the vibrations from fellow CC and regular pax. So I donated ... to a Trade Union, despite being a life-long Tory. I'll ignore the wider picture and just settle for having sympathy for the individuals involved.

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Old Sep 30, 18, 9:10 am
  #244  
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£59,625 ... Raised by 2,357 people in 2 days. A lot of people seem to care about the individuals, which is nice.
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Old Sep 30, 18, 9:51 am
  #245  
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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.

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.
we arent at ARN, are we (sarcasm intended)?

with 85 crew in the hk case it will not be hard to find a few intake per year that speaks decent english in hk- its bad but not that bad yet. jl and ana seems to have done ok for their hk base. so whilst i understand this isnt in baís view to keep icc bases, none of these back the decision. hkg is in fact one of the latter base to close so everyone was fully expecting it.

what the bigger problem is, is how ba presents the problem. seems like everyone is surprised on how ba treated the hk base this time round, which means they didnt use to shut bases this way. do in short, they dont give a rats ....
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Old Sep 30, 18, 4:17 pm
  #246  
 
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- Harsh decision awfully executed.
- Fully understand BA "fans" inhabit this board, but sadly CX comprehensively slaughter BA on the route.
- All isn't well seemingly with CX Pilots and new contracts, clearly HKG isn't the cash-cow for anybody it once was.
- Buying BA tickets via "EUPOAIR" years ago and flying BA with Chinese Crew and limitless free-noodles(!), you got the impression BA had got the cross-cultural thing brilliantly. Things have moved on, the whole industry is far more brutal now.
- I also flew HKG to MNL and TPE with BA, perhaps in a financial sense it would of made sense to close the local base 15+ years ago when these routes were closed?
- I wouldn't be surprised if BA's 2 per day becomes 1 or even codesharing with CX happens going forward.
- I've just donated to the collection, You Should Too!!
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Old Sep 30, 18, 11:19 pm
  #247  
 
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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.

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.
sure if they are 1/2/3 yrs into their career. but say a 10yr+ veteran? dont know how easy it is for them to change jobs (esp as airline cabin crew)?

i think the final ex-gratia payment would probably come down to
1/ waiving the statutory dollar cap on severance (2/3 monthly pay for every 1 yr worked capped at HK$15k pm) or maybe upping to 1 mth like the banks?
2/ calculating the severance pay based on a higher number (eg highest monthly wage drawn as opposed to last month / average yearly wage)

havent heard of any companies being more generous in HKG?

i think overall the labour system in HKG does function properly - it actually can work in your favour if you wanted to walk out on the job - dont need to serve notice but can "buyout" your notice period.

but seems like the way BA did this was very untactful and not well thought out..
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Old Oct 1, 18, 12:08 am
  #248  
 
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Originally Posted by ermen View Post
sure if they are 1/2/3 yrs into their career. but say a 10yr+ veteran? dont know how easy it is for them to change jobs (esp as airline cabin crew)?
At least one person had been with BA for 32 years. Probably not the easiest to change jobs at that point in life.
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Old Oct 1, 18, 12:17 am
  #249  
 
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On the flight back overnight last night they announced that there were 3 Hong Kong based cabin crew on board. And they named them. Reading the news in the week (and in the papers in Hong Kong) - I wasnít expecting them to be on there at all. They didnít announce them on the way over to HK.
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Old Oct 1, 18, 1:30 am
  #250  
 
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There are a few on 'temporary contracts' (who have been with BA at least 6 years with contracts renewed yearly) who are technically still working up to 31st October. The permanent contract crew were terminated with immediate effect from 23rd Sept

v sad to see how BA had handled this. The HKG crew were always professional.
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Old Oct 1, 18, 3:36 am
  #251  
 
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Originally Posted by moral_low_ground View Post
My US colleague thinks the sort of labor laws BA takes advantage of actually helps job creation. His view is that the flexibility to easily hire and fire makes companies take on more people because getting rid of them is easy compared to Europe where it is not.

I can see that up to a point but I think the cost of getting rid of people should be much more closely tied to the companies ability to pay as well as decent notice periods/redundancy payments. BA should have given some prior warning and realize that their current profitability is down in part to those staff currently employed. Saying thank you is not enough.
It creates low unemployment but it also means companies can drive wages and employee rights down as there is always someone willing to undercut you, until they start the job at least. HK is a horrible place for the average working man/woman with long hours, poor salaries and no benefits.
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Old Oct 1, 18, 3:56 am
  #252  
 
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I always thought this was one of BA's most profitable routes?
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Old Oct 1, 18, 4:27 am
  #253  
 
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Originally Posted by stevie View Post
I always thought this was one of BA's most profitable routes?
It is, and was the second route to get the A380 IIRC. Still they can't get near CX on it and cost cutting is in their dna, remember.
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Old Oct 1, 18, 6:45 am
  #254  
 
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How about Tokyo base??

I wonder if the trend will affect NRT base cabin crew. I understand NRT crew earn approx GBP 50000 a year....
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Old Oct 1, 18, 11:32 am
  #255  
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Originally Posted by ermen View Post
sure if they are 1/2/3 yrs into their career. but say a 10yr+ veteran? dont know how easy it is for them to change jobs (esp as airline cabin crew)?

i think the final ex-gratia payment would probably come down to
1/ waiving the statutory dollar cap on severance (2/3 monthly pay for every 1 yr worked capped at HK$15k pm) or maybe upping to 1 mth like the banks?
2/ calculating the severance pay based on a higher number (eg highest monthly wage drawn as opposed to last month / average yearly wage)

havent heard of any companies being more generous in HKG?

i think overall the labour system in HKG does function properly - it actually can work in your favour if you wanted to walk out on the job - dont need to serve notice but can "buyout" your notice period.

but seems like the way BA did this was very untactful and not well thought out..
BA pressures cabin crew over new offer: union - RTHK
probably not far off...
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