For many years now employees of Emirates Airline are witnesses of deterioration of working conditions and violations of their contracts. Seems that pressure is so huge lately that employees have no other way to cope with incapable and careless managers but to establish secret societies (Emirates Illuminati) or to mock them on social networks and blogs. Emirates Illuminati website is blocked in UAE and one of the EK cabin crew’s Facebook page was shut down recently under the pressure of Human Resources managers. So much about freedom of speech – only managers are allowed to have it in Emirates Airline.
I will repeat – just about anyone can lead the company like this: not concerned for company’s future and people, not concerned about human and labour rights violations, but very concerned about bonuses and huge salaries that they get for making short-sighted and irrational decisions to make money on the expense of physical and mental health of their staff.
The newest ludicrous decision of powerless managers was to cancel self certification of sickness for members of cabin crew. This was management’s response to cabin crew’s chronic exhaustion due to long working hours and huge staff turnover rate. Shortage of staff is making headaches in Emirates Head Quarters as planes are grounded due to lack of staff.
In EK Airport Services, staff never had an option to self certificate. On the days they are sick, they have to go to any private clinic and pay for their certificate (around 100 AED). So, they are sick, but they still have to get up and go to the clinic, otherwise if they don’t bring medical certificate dated on the day they called sick, they will be marked absent. And they don’t have a clinic, they have to pay for their certification from their 3500 AED salary. This just proves how EK ground staff is discriminated and humiliated.
Cabin crew asked me to publish their response to Terry Daly Divisional Vice President Service Delivery’s e-mail which notifies crew on this new policy. They replied (in cursive) on every paragraph of Mr.Terry Daly’s e-mail (marked in red letters).
Screenshots are from social networks where employees talk about management’s unqualified and unfit decisions.
There are some important changes happening in sick reporting and certification. I thought I should write to you and let you know.
What are the changes?
From 07:00 on 20 January 2015, cabin crew who are sick and unable to come to work will no longer be able to self-certify. You will need to visit a nurse at EGHQ to obtain a sick certificate. The nurses will be in a dedicated area on the ground floor called the Certificate Unit (CU) and they will be available 24/7.”
Translation: from now on, we are not just abusing the cabin crew, ground staff, engineers and cleaners but also nurses with forced night shifts and work overload. Oh, and if I’m too sick to work, I’m also too sick to come out to public, to wait in a queue and to receive a certificate that I truly don’t care so much about.
“What will happen when you call sick?
When you call the Attendance Management Unit (AMU) they will arrange for you to visit a nurse at the Certificate Unit as soon as possible. The nurse will assess you and issue you with a sick certificate as appropriate. This may be for either one, two or three days depending on the nature of your illness”
Translation: take a 20minute bus ride to HQ with 39C fever, diarrhoea or a virus, infect everyone on the bus and in the headquarters, so that tomorrow 20 more people could call in sick.
“If you have recovered when the sick certificate expires you should simply report for your next duty.
If you continue to be unwell you should make an appointment at the EK Clinic for medical advice and support.”
Terry, have you been in the EK Clinic lately? Everyone knows you need to take a pillow and a blanket with you because it will be a 6 hour camp waiting in a queue. And I’m not even joking. Getting an appointment takes around a week
“If you feel better before your sick certificate expires (if it was issued for 2 – 3 days) simply contact the AMU and they will amend your roster.
Why are we doing this?
This change will mean we can track sickness more accurately. Seeing a nurse means that if serious problems are indicated we can schedule you to see another medical professional more quickly.”
Who are you kidding, Terry?
“For those who are concerned about making sure that their sickness is documented, it will mean that this is done straight away.”
Who was ever been concerned?
“We do of course also hope that it will result in a reduction in crew reporting sick when they are actually able to come to work.”
Finally, some truth, Terry
“Does this replace the Walk-in Clinic?
The Certificate Unit is not a walk-in clinic. The team of nurses there will not be able to see anyone who has not called sick through the AMU. They will be able to provide advice on the majority of ailments, however are not set up to deliver treatment. Similarly, they cannot provide follow-up medical advice/support. For this, use the EK Clinic as you do today.”
Translation: you take a 20 minute bus ride where you infect everyone, just the nurse confirm your diarrhoea, without giving any medications. And how again should I ever get better if I have to drive between HQ and home after every two days?
“I understand that this is a major change to our sickness reporting procedures. It will likely take some time to settle down and I thank you for your understanding in the meantime. There are FAQs on the Cabin Crew Portal
There is also a place for you to post any questions.
DSVP Service Delivery”
Here are some responses that I got today from colleagues after they read the email. It will all speak for itself and project peoples’ misery, demotivation and pure helplessness:
* They are short of crew and this is what we get? They should stop buying aircrafts and start buying robots…
* This is the end
*Wonder how many people are going to call sick on 19th just to mark the end of an era!!!!!
* If u have diarrhea u get a warning
*They will give u panadol and send u to work anyway
*Pathetic, we’re being treated like little children in school…. No wonder everyone is leaving
*As if it isn’t difficult enough getting an appointment… now add diarrhea, headache, period pains, etc etc patients… Poor nurses will be overworked!
*Working in a company where bad ideas and inefficient policies are circulated on a daily basis, you’d think another new utterly sh*t sanction wouldn’t shock…
*Well there’s a way to get another few thousand to resign
*Oh and What if i am suffering from fatigue !!! Do i have to wear my skirt as a top and the blouse as my bottom is to prove it !!!
*And there was me thinking Fascism was defeated…
Some time ago, the management launched the multi-sectors for the poor A330 crew (they now do sectors DXB-DOH-DXB-DOH-DXB, or DXB-DOH-DXB-KWI-DXB), where the crew spends around 12-13 hours at work, gives out four times towels, menus, toys AND full services and gets paid for the time spent in the air, which is around 4 hours. This illustrates very well the fact that the shortage of crew is present. The predictions based on common sense say, that even the last A330/A340 flight attendants are now going to resign.
I recently flew with a colleague who said, on his graduation day (completion of 6 moths in EK), there was 14 people less than initially in the training!!!!
Around four months ago a Facebook group called EK off topic was shut down by HR and a new group highly monitored by HR representative was established. This irritated huge amount on people who felt, their freedom of speech has been limited. And they resigned.
Today we get surprised with new sickness rules. If Emirates is so short of crew (yes, every week around 180 people resigning), then why on earth are the remaining people treated so horribly? Maybe it’s a tactical move to get everyone on final warning at some point, so that manipulating and sanctioning will be easier for the management?
There are many “old” crew in the company, who remember the “golden times” with laid back briefings, excellent staff travels, lots of free time and salary that made you feel upper middle class in Dubai. What we see today are briefings where instead of motivation we are getting a moral (a whole 15 minutes of “Don’t do..” , “The customer is paying so much…”, “Be there..” “Say that..”, “Do that…”, “You are here to deliver the service..”, “ Customers are paying our salary..”, ”If you’re not doing (fill in the blank), it’s going to marked 1 on your flight review” etc etc etc), staff travel, where we get kicked off from the plane with confirmed tickets and salaries with all sorts of random deductions and missing allowances. It’s turning into a horrible company to work for!
If I were an Emirates Airline manager I would be seriously ashamed after reading this. At least.