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European And Asian Labor/Mgmt Relations

Sat Jan 01, 2005 6:52 am

Are labor unions purely an American invention, or do other countries have them too? How is the corporate attitude in the rest of the world's airlines?
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RE: European And Asian Labor/Mgmt Relations

Sat Jan 01, 2005 7:22 am

Labor unions are not unique to the US. Not sure they were a US invention either, although i'm sure many on this site would be happy to blame your country.

Having lived and travelled extensively in Europe, US and Asia, i believe unions have an important role to play in business and industry. Unfortunately, it seems to be an unhappy inverse - the poorest and least able workers often have no / weak unions, and the more affluent / most skilled seem to have the most powerful.

US airline management is consistently the least supportive of model commonality. Most US flight crew salaries are based rigidly on models and variants. As many managers have moved from flight crew to management, is this why?

In Europe and Asia, model commonality is likely to be viewed as offering more variety, opportunities, experience and marketable skills.
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RE: European And Asian Labor/Mgmt Relations

Sat Jan 01, 2005 5:48 pm

No, labor unions are not a "purely American invention", other countries have them as well: Germany has unions since 1849.

There are, as with all things in life, good times and bad times - but in general, I'd say that unions and managements tend to work together quite well here: yes, negotiations usually start out with unions demanding at least 5% wage increase, a cut in working hours (or at least no increase) and a contract securing all jobs for at least 10 years, while managements usually starts out with a wage freeze, an increase in working hours back to 40 hours (something which a lot of people already, again, have) and no job guarantees at all.

Usually, they end up somewhere in the middle regarding the wages, job guarantees usually end up as 5-10 year guarantees dependant on economic factors and not with a guarantee of employing x number of people at the end of the contract (meaning that people would have to be hired when others leave), but with a guarantee for those who are in the company and who don't leave themselves, don't retire and don't get fired for other reasons (obviously, if you're incompetent then you can still get fired even though you have a "job guarantee").

All in all, I think the system works quite well here - I'm no friend of unions, and I wouldn't join them for anything at the moment, but I do think that the employee's side is better off having them.

Regards (and a Happy New Year),
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RE: European And Asian Labor/Mgmt Relations

Sat Jan 01, 2005 6:40 pm

I could be wrong but i think the first labour union was set up here in the UK in the 1700s,correct me if i am wrong ,but i think it was something to do with working conditions at the time, and there were various demonstrations in different towns and cities. The gov at the time forceably put these people down leading to some deaths for instance the peterloo martyrs in manchester.
I could be wrong but maybe this was the start of unions.
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RE: European And Asian Labor/Mgmt Relations

Sat Jan 01, 2005 6:50 pm

I guess this might help...
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