Secretary, IFALPA Director & CFT Trustee, James Jarvis
Since Conference, I have retained my position as the union Secretary but also taken on the IFALPA Director’s role and become a CFT trustee. I’ve been Secretary for long enough now to operate almost on autopilot (ably assisted/cajoled by Carina in the office), however I’m still getting to grips with the IFALPA position. Obviously, COVID-19 has had quite an impact and the few IFALPA meetings that are scheduled are being held online, which is sub-optimal in so many ways. I remain ever hopeful that the IFALPA Conference in Singapore next May will go ahead, but I’m not holding my breath.
Recent IFALPA initiatives are varied, and just a small selection would include those concerning industry resilience and measures to safely restore international connectivity, mutual recognition of vaccines, climate change/net-zero carbon emissions, and enhancing the position of women in aviation. If you are interested in reading more, I’d suggest a visit to the IFALPA website.
I’m really grateful that we have a few experienced NZALPA subject matter experts involved in the various IFALPA areas and they are doing the bulk of the work at present. I’m aware that the pace will pick up at some time in the future, however my view is fast becoming that the IFALPA Director’s position should officially morph into a wider ‘external relations’ role, with the intention to better assist the President. This would reflect the reality of the position that I find myself in, the precedent being set by Tim Robinson when he was in the role.
Wearing the three hats has certainly kept me busy. Nevertheless, my workload pales into insignificance alongside that of some of your other representatives. A great deal of work continues to be done by a relatively small bunch of very experienced NZALPA stalwarts, and it’s fair to say that all members owe them and their stamina a debt of gratitude. I’m aware that for many of our members, some more affected by the pandemic than others, it would be relatively easy
to become cynical and disaffected. There have been periods where we could have done better with communications, perhaps because there really wasn’t anything positive to report or because the news would have been out of date as soon as
it was published. But rest assured, things have been frenetic behind the scenes! The irony and great shame is that there is always plenty of really ‘juicy stuff’ that is confidential (a good reason to volunteer for a representative position come election time), so I find myself somewhat hamstrung when writing this report. There are, however, a few things I can safely mention, in no particular order:
Conference 2021 was held in June, when we were still free to move and congregate. This was a two-day Conference and business was dealt with expeditiously. In my opinion, there is little to justify a return to the time and expense of
a three-day Conference. To that end, a remit was passed to review the existing Conference format and remit submission process to ensure that remits reach Conference in a mature state, ready to be voted upon with minimum debate. Perhaps of greater interest, Conference unanimously accepted a remit to extend membership for unemployed members (see Rule 5(1)(e)) from two years to the greater of five years or the period specified in any re- employment policy, from the date of cessation of employment. Honorary Life Memberships were awarded to Jim Dunn and Mark Rammell, and a Scroll of Merit was awarded to Greg Okeroa.
I’m not going to bore you with membership statistics; however, it will come as no surprise that there has been a trickle of members who have completely given up on their chances of ever getting, or returning to, a job in the industry. I can’t say I blame them and the tone of resignation in their cancellation letters is palpable at times. However, I do hope that the majority of redundant or furloughed members will continue to hang in there with the assistance of the ongoing fees waiver.
On the upside, we have received our first application for membership from a RPAS pilot. This is quite a milestone. Whether we like it or not, remotely piloted aircraft are here to stay, perhaps providing opportunities for some of our existing members and we must continue to recruit or retain these pilots to strengthen their position and also NZALPA.
We are all dealing with COVID fatigue. Tempers and resilience have been affected. I’m sure that we have all recognised this in ourselves and seen it in our workmates. Personally, I’ve had the ‘red mist’ descend on more than one occasion when dealing with some of the more nonsensical procedures at the border. Unfortunately, a number of our members have been involved in recent run-ins, particularly with Aviation Security. Unsurprisingly, it seems that COVID fatigue is affecting their staff as well, some of whom appear to be overstepping the mark. On a couple of occasions these interactions have escalated and become quite serious. One led to a CAA review of the pilot’s security status; however common sense has since prevailed.
This has highlighted that there are some serious flaws in the system at the border, and NZALPA has commenced an investigation and will be working with the regulator to ensure appropriate and levelheaded behaviour from those tasked with keeping our borders safe.
There are many other matters that I’d love to share, but those will have to wait for the New Year. There’s plenty of work in progress. Let’s hope that 2022 turns out better for everyone!
Keep safe and enjoy Christmas.
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