First year pilot and the award

What's a job in helicopters pay? Does it pay? Why do you get paid more than me?
fattony77
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First year pilot and the award

Postby fattony77 » Thu Apr 12 2012, 13:32

Sorry guys if this is a repetitive question, but i feel like im between a rock and a hard place.....ive searched the other postings but can't find a definitive answer. Is the award a legally binding pay scale, i.e. is a employer bound by australian law to pay these rates?? I have spoken to the ombudsman and they inform me they do, but my new boss claims they are a work in progress and as such do not. As is a new job don't want to rock the boat but at the same time do not want to get ripped off, can anyone shed some light on this for me as am confused as to wether the award is the "law" or just a guide? First year pilot flying full-time, small single.....
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cassidy_copter
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Re: First year pilot and the award

Postby cassidy_copter » Thu Apr 12 2012, 14:12

Fat Tony,

Any time you talk to an employer about pay, you've already rocked the boat, especially when the cheap bastards don't want to pay you. Posting it on a public forum the boat has already begun taking on water, especially if some precious bitch reads it and dobs you in, or your employer reads it. The cowards troll here.

Just because you are a first year pilot, don't sell yourself short. How much did your flight training cost you? How much will it cost you over the next 30+ years. How long do you want to be a wage slave beholden to some bastard? When I first started out, I put in 16 hours per day and would bring home $300 at the end of the month. I was s#!t scared to go out and look for another job. That was 30 years ago.

How many years will it take to recoup your investment in yourself by accepting niggardly wages, while the cheap charlies out there do not re-invest their business profit in aircraft, maintenance, facilities, and lay the burden of training costs onto the pilots, that operators traditionally paid for, so they can buy a new toy or a bigger house?

In doing so, you send the wrong message to your employer(s) and bring the whole industry down. Think with one mind. Speak with one voice. Stand up for what is right and fair. Pilots whom are selfish and go their own way, thinking their employer will favour them and smile upon them or make them a Check Airman or Chief Pilot for their loyalty are fooling themselves and screwing their buddies. Our industry has too many self-serving sychophants . . . real bum kissers whom play politics, eager to use your back as a step up on their career ladder. Must stick together on important issues. Pay is one of them. Crew Rest. Aircraft Maintenance. Compliance with Air Laws. And, when you call in Sick or Fatigued, do not back down. You could end up dead.

My previous employer, Xiamen Airlines, still owes me money, since July. That was China.

But, I have had employers, in Australia, try to screw me on my pay. Industrial Relations Commission.

Document everything, dates, time, who you spoke to . . . research the law yourself on the Austlii website.

Be sure you also try to find out what the statute of limitations is for filing a claim.

More than 20 years ago a Chief Pilot cheated me out of my pay. I punched him in the mouth, then closed him down. I would do it again, if that is what it would take to get my point across.

If I work, I expect to get paid and paid on time.

Next time you go into a job with your eyes open and get it down on paper.

That is my best advice.

CC
Last edited by cassidy_copter on Fri Apr 13 2012, 11:17, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: First year pilot and the award

Postby bl@ckers » Thu Apr 12 2012, 22:00

Your employer, unfortunately like too many others, is cheating you and breaking the law!

The Air Pilots Award is a modern award and legally binding by employers as the minimum standards for employment (wages, entitlements, holidays, etc).

It is NOT a work in progress as you have been lead to believe, it is an enforceable document that is relevant to all forms of aviation (FW and RW).

Great post by CC, we need to make these employers accountable if we are to improve the industry! If you are not appropriately remunerated in accordance with the award do us all a favour and follow up with the industrial commission!
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Re: First year pilot and the award

Postby fattony77 » Thu Apr 12 2012, 23:58

Cheers guys for the replys, and by no means is it over yet, I just needed to know if the award is the law, I will be following up with the ombudsman some more and will hopefully get to the bottom of it....well at least the bottom of the award pay scale, which is along way up from what im currently on! Im not actually sure if my boss is aware that the award is the law, or is trying to avoid paying it. But I will definatly following this up and hopefully with good results....any advice on who I should be talking to apart from the ombudsman would be greatly appreciated....and thanks again for taking the time to reply.
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Re: First year pilot and the award

Postby Gator » Fri Apr 13 2012, 00:44

One more thing that may need to be taken into consideration is if you have just started employment on a trial or probationary period (not sure if this is applicable to your specific situation but something to think about).

I would at least wait until this period has expired before creating too many waves, so you don't find yourself out of a job because your employer 'found you unsuitable for the job' or you 'didn't pass the probationary period' or for whatever poor excuse your employer may come up with to terminate your employment. At least that way you will then still be within your rights to claim the shortfall in wages whilst keeping your job, or at least enabling you to bring on a legitimate unfair dismissal claim in the event your employer does try to give you the ar$e as a result.

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Re: First year pilot and the award

Postby fattony77 » Fri Apr 13 2012, 00:49

Sound advice Gator, cheers
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Re: First year pilot and the award

Postby Pegs » Fri Apr 13 2012, 03:16

fattony77 wrote:Cheers guys for the replys, and by no means is it over yet, I just needed to know if the award is the law, I will be following up with the ombudsman some more and will hopefully get to the bottom of it....well at least the bottom of the award pay scale, which is along way up from what im currently on! Im not actually sure if my boss is aware that the award is the law, or is trying to avoid paying it. But I will definatly following this up and hopefully with good results....any advice on who I should be talking to apart from the ombudsman would be greatly appreciated....and thanks again for taking the time to reply.



you need to first take it to fair work Australia, lodge a complaint, which they will investigate. You will need payslips, timesheets, and something that says how you are employed (usually on your payslip) as that will have the rate you are paid, the hours worked, etc, then you take all that to FWA and they do an investigation, they will determine whether your boss has knowingly broken the law, and they will punish accordingly. As Gator says, I wouldn't do anything before you are off probation though, as they don't need a reason to end your employment before then. After that its a little harder to sack someone if they decide they don't like you, on the other hand, you may find you no longer wish to work there after such an investigation is finalized, as the boss may not be quite as pleasant to work for as he was before, so you need to weigh your options and work out what you have to lose before you go any further.
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Re: First year pilot and the award

Postby havick » Fri Apr 13 2012, 04:51

fattony77... You're current employer is probably reading this thread right now. Food for thought.
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Re: First year pilot and the award

Postby mhale71 » Fri Apr 13 2012, 05:16

Are you sure you are employed as a pilot>? Or as ground crew / desk man with the ..privilege of doing a .1 every month?
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Re: First year pilot and the award

Postby SuperF » Fri Apr 13 2012, 06:35

i was going to ask the same, he does say full time pilot, however what is fulltime?

if you do 300hrs/yr then that leaves 1780hrs doing something else, and thats if you only do a 40 hr week. if you are doing a 60 hr week then 300 hrs leaves 2820 hrs per year doing something else.

if you are doing 1000 hrs per yr, then hard to say that you arent full time, as you do spend a lot of time on the ground...

if your contract/payslip says Occupation: Pilot then that is hard to argue with as well, and at that point it probably doesnt matter how many hrs you do.
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Re: First year pilot and the award

Postby cassidy_copter » Fri Apr 13 2012, 09:37

Fat Tony,

Re-read my post. Within Probationary period or not you are not a slave and still have legal rights.

If you suck it up now, then when you go to file a claim, you might be asked why did you accept the conditions.

IF you have issues, now, what will it be like six months from now? Chances are it will not get better.

You think your employer will say, "Oh, I made a mistake"? Hell no! He will expect you to compromise your integrity on some other issue.

"Come on, Fat Tony, I know you have not been feeling well, but I have no one else who can do the job". "If you don't do it, I'll find someone who can."

And, what if it is a bad day at Black Rock and you stick your tail rotor into a fence or did not see the powerline on takeoff, because you were not 100%. Who are they going to blame?

Yep, and I was the asshole, once upon a time, who undercut my buddy and departed in zero-zero conditions, in a Cessna 404, because I had more balls than brains and I liked the Owner and wanted to show the other pilot that I was better.
Today, that employer is out of business and selling real estate.

You can escalate it and ask your employer to show you where it is written regarding your wages and benefits. You will merely rub salt in the wound and you will not be there much longer, within or outside your Probationary Period.

EVEN IF you can prove him wrong, in writing, you will merely rub salt in the wound and you will not be there much longer, within or outside your Probationary Period.

How do I know this? Thirty-three years worth of experience.

Now, then the sharpshooters on Bladeslapper will take great joy in a sniping at me, but if you would open your minds and starting paying attention to what I write, instead of taking pot shots at me, looking for a chink in my armour, you might actually learn something and survive in Aviation unscathed, for as long as I have. And, that goes for the cowards/employers whom go by some other name whom troll here. I am here to tell you that you ain't s#!t and are not worth working for.

Fat Tony, start looking for another job and put this behind you. Next time, you will know better. It is tough just starting out, because you are eager and hungry to build flying hours and experience. Don't let it cloud your judgment nor let it compromise your integrity or professionalism, just to please an employer.
That's how guys get in trouble.
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Re: First year pilot and the award

Postby Pegs » Fri Apr 13 2012, 09:59

On the other hand though CC jobs for low timers are hard to get, and nearly every company in Australia that employs low timers doesn't pay the award, so he needs to weigh up what he wants, a job as a pilot, or more money, as taking the boss to court, will likely end up having neither.
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Re: First year pilot and the award

Postby Gator » Fri Apr 13 2012, 10:19

Pegs wrote:and nearly every company in Australia that employs low timers doesn't pay the award

And I guess if that is the case, Fat Tony's not really going to be any better off finding a different employer is he?

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Re: First year pilot and the award

Postby cassidy_copter » Fri Apr 13 2012, 11:30

Pegs wrote:
nearly every company in Australia that employs low timers doesn't pay the award


And, why not?

It would be easier to write a provision into an employment contract . . . Wages will be 3/4s of Award (or whatever), until the employee has served two years or 1,500 hours, or earned his ATPL, which ever comes first, to offset training and higher Insurance costs. Optionally, bond the employee for the period of two years and pay full award. I can appreciate training and insurance is expensive, but then again, if you cannot afford the costs of doing business properly and by the book, then make room for those whom can.

This way a pilot has a goal to work toward and the employer has a pilot he can count on for two years.

But, tricky dicks, have no imagination and cause hard feelings and doubts about their employer's ethics, as in Fat Tony's case.

And, if an employer promises to pay a certain amount or to reimburse for X and the employee has it in writing then the employer must be held accountable.

I can put up with most anything, but I hate to get cheated out of my hard-earned money.
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Re: First year pilot and the award

Postby SuperF » Fri Apr 13 2012, 12:11

Unfortunately CC, when you get employees with the attitude that you are encouraging on here, they are the first to go. It's all about attitude guys, first thing to do is sound out your boss, you've said he thought that it was a work in progress. Point him in the right direction to help him see that it is actually law.... Nicely.

Then start looking for your next job, hopefully paying award. Yep, you aren't getting award now, but odds are neither will the guy that fills your boots, and there is a lack of jobs for low timers, build your time, move on and up.

Stir, have a go at the boss, get award back pay, before you have another job, chances are you won't get another job...

And the reason that your boss probably can't afford to pay award? The other post that's going on here at the moment about scenic flight pricing in Brisbane. Another new pilot cutting the price to get a start in the industry, he doesn't realize the longterm damage that he is doing to the industry. 20 or 30 years time when all the glamour has gone out of it, and he actually wants to be paid well for the skills he has, he will look back and talk about how stupid he was working for nothing...
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Hugh Bosh
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Re: First year pilot and the award

Postby Hugh Bosh » Fri Apr 13 2012, 12:18

In Australia, all workers are entitled to a fair wage in return for their labour, no matter how 'attractive' the job is.

Complaints can be made to the Ombudsman, not anonymously, but the ombudsman has the discretion to audit any employer in the course of their duties and will quite often audit a few businesses in order to protect the identity of one person. They are quite good at protecting the source of complaints. They also take the approach of educating employers before making legally binding determinations so your employer is not going to get taken to court unless he fails to heed the very good advice given to him.

In Australia, an employer is never able to offer less than the award wage, nor are you able to agree to work for less than the award wage. The award is there to ensure that the minimum level of remuneration is not undermined.

Paying less than the award wage, no matter how many platitudes about 'giving a bloke a foot in the door' is exploitative. :( To claim otherwise is just BS.

A very robust discussion regarding the right of employees to be paid fairly can be found here: http://www.bladeslapper.com/content/bb/viewtopic.php?f=17&t=2694

Some advice on the Vic Legal Aid website, which is applicable for all Australian workers includes:

What can I do if I think I’m not getting paid properly?

There are minimum rates of pay for all employees in Victoria. Your contract or agreement can give you a higher rate or pay, but no employer can give you less than the minimum rate for your job and classification.

For details of what your minimum rate of pay should be see Fair Work Australia (link below) or contact the Fair Work Infoline on 13 13 94. The infoline can also tell you what terms and conditions you are entitled to.

Check if you’re being paid your correct entitlements. If not, discuss this with your employer. If they don’t correct the situation the Fair Work Ombudsman has the power to make your employers pay the minimum wages and entitlements.

You can make a complaint to the Fair Work Ombudsman by telephone, in person, or online. Provide as much evidence, as possible, such as payslips, timesheets or group certificates, with your complaint.
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Re: First year pilot and the award

Postby Pegs » Fri Apr 13 2012, 20:26

Cc I agree with you, and I am one of the first to jump up and down about pilots not getting award, I'm just pointing out the other side to the story, we can all wish it was different, but it isn't. Nice post Hugh bosh, that was what I tried to say in my first post, just saying though, there are consequences other than getting your lost wages from taking the boss to court, ie he may no longer be able to pay you, so no job, flying jobs are hard to get, you might be better waiting until you are ready to go to your next job, and have it lined up before you pursuer your rightly owned wages, just cover your tail that's all. Remember small industry, everyone talks, how long do you think an investigation into wages not being paid would take to become public knowledge? Doesn't then take much work for other people to work out who the pilot was who lodged the complaint, chances are the cheesed off ex employer will be happy o tell people, you job opportunities could be limited after that. I'm not saying don't report them or follow through, far from it, but i just want to point out that gained wages may be the only plus, there are a few cons as well to be aware of.

Good luck either way :)
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Re: First year pilot and the award

Postby Yankee » Fri Apr 13 2012, 20:52

An American perspective: About 4 years ago I was laid off from an offshore GOM company, things were tough with a downturn in economy etc. Jobs were extremely scarce and after being unemployed for six months I finally secured an interview through word of mouth.

I had a strong resume and 1100 hours offshore time but only 1800 hours TT. Three people went in for the interview, I got the job.

Towards the end of the interview the DO pushed a piece of paper to me with a starting salary around $39k (about 13k less than those starting with zero offshore experienc) and asked if I would accept that... I concealed my shock, smiled and said "why yes I would"

Before you all start bashing, I had been looking for work for 6 months with only a couple of interviews. Texas like many other states in the "US is a right to work" state which means you work at the pleasure of your employer and can be given "the sac" half way through your work day with no reason given.

Also finding a job is easier if you already have a job to go to. I also need 2k hours to be in the window for EMS jobs.

I worked there for 5 months and after making it to the 2k hour in my logbook made a formal request for a pay rise. I was told via another line pilot that I wasn't going to get a rise. I then submitted my 2 week notice. The next day one of the owners showed up at my base and asked "if i was given a pay rise would I stay???" I politely refused his offer on the grounds that I didn't ever believe I would be given a fair deal there. It took courage to walk away like that, unfortunately I should have lined up another job before I left. So for you young uns, always have another job lined up before you quit a job.

From the little I know I believe that Australians are very lucky with their working conditions, and you also live in a very beautiful place.
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Re: First year pilot and the award

Postby Worzel_Gummidge » Sat Apr 14 2012, 00:27

I applaud your courage if you take this fight on. If only more young pilots did this it would send a message to the industry that new pilots are sick of being taken advantage of. I know of Jetrangers and Longrangers going out at $700/hr at the moment, the last time I saw rates that low was the the early 90's when I learnt to fly. At that rate companies have to cut corners somewhere and pilots wages are a good place to start! Scenic flight operators are another example, they usually can't pay pilots the award because they often don't make enough out of the flights, they can't charge more because the bloke down the road is also charging the same low rates. It's a vicious circle with pilots suffering in the middle and the flying public none the wiser!

There is talk in the trucking industry to set minimum rates to ensure that trucking companies aren't putting trucks out at low rates and then expecting drivers to do whatever they have to to make the deadline. If the driver gets caught, he/she gets hung out to dry because the trucking company has 'policies' in place that prohibit that sort of illegal behaviour whilst at the same time setting these deadlines that drivers can't possibly legally adhere to. Sound familiar?

Worzel.
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Re: First year pilot and the award

Postby CYHeli » Sat Apr 14 2012, 02:37

I know of a number of pilots that have had arguements with their boss about pay, and even taken them to Wageline, etc. but all have or got jobs afterwards.
Don't think that no one will touch you or you will never work or fly again, just because you spoke up. It will be hard, but not a career ended.
Anyone who can name a person (even a username) who has never worked since speaking to the ombudsman, list them here.
Let's not bully the underpaid into not speaking up with BS that their career is over, when it is not.
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