We are here today to explain that we are very satisfied with how things are proceeding. The airline is operating fine and we are pleased with the results of the introduction of our new pay, benefits and rostering package.
Over 1,400 pilots are already on the new pay scheme. Not a single one has rejected it. Nor has a single pilot rejected the improved benefits that we have implemented.
While it is too early to give specific numbers, it would seem that an overwhelming majority have also opted for the new overtime scheme.
And of course we are very happy for the other pilots to remain on the current overtime scheme.
AOA lawyer's letter
We understand that many pilots have signed a letter to the company drafted by the AOA's lawyers. Frankly we are not surprised in the least that a large number of pilots have signed this letter. The union leadership has been doing all it can to force pilots to do so including posting the names of non-signers on its Website. To take the heat out of the situation we have advised pilots to go ahead and sign the AOA lawyer's letter.
All this letter does is to restate the AOA's position that the company cannot change any element of their roster practices. The fact is however that roster practices are not part of any pilots' contract of employment with the company. They are contained in an operations manual which is not contractual and therefore can be changed by the Company.
We agree that some elements of roster practices are, by their nature, things that would not be out of place in a contract of employment. We tried for two years to negotiate an agreement on these so we could put them in our pilots' contracts. However, despite our best efforts, we were unable to agree with the AOA and the result is that roster practices remain outside pilots' contracts.
The elements of roster practices which I have just referred to would include hours worked, overtime and so on. The fact is the only changes we have made to these elements are improvements. We have offered a choice of a new overtime scheme which will pay more money than the current one. However, if pilots wish to remain on the current one, they can do so. They have a completely free choice.
The AOA tried to get an injunction on Saturday to prevent us from proceeding with the roster practice changes and the case was dismissed. The AOA has been unable to demonstrate that any of the changes are to anyone's detriment.
No one has rejected a pay rise
While many pilots have signed the AOA lawyer's letter, it is worth repeating that not a single pilot has so far rejected the pay rise we implemented earlier this month. Not a single pilot has rejected the improved benefits we implemented earlier this month.