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Tag Archives: forced overtime

Over 27.000 readers in one day

I started to write this blog as an expression of my helplessness after the termination of my service with Emirates Airline (EK).

Before I was fired I was working for year and a half at the airport. The only good things which I have got from EK are my accommodation in the first month (hotel), my check in training and first couple of months of my work there. I will not forget my couple of trips to foreign countries also, but since I paid for those with starvation, money and nerves for waiting on standby tickets and finding replacements to be able to travel in the first place, I give less merit to EK for those. I also cherish my friends from Dubai, but I don’t give EK merit for meeting and keeping them at all.

In the first couple of months I was very happy to be able to meet people from all over the world and to broaden my mind and experience. I was so enthusiastic and positive that I was even cleaning (picking up things in front of the counters) the airport from the litter that passengers leave after their transit through the airport. I was warm and polite, always concerned if my passengers are satisfied and taken care of (yes I was).

17th place among 100 most read WordPress blogs in the world.

17th place among 100 most read WordPress blogs in the world.

After three months I figured out that EK is a black hole for energy and enthusiasm. They only take and give nothing or very little in return. They abuse your enthusiasm for work until you can’t continue anymore. At that point they will show no mercy. They will tell you to leave if you don’t like it. And since they are not the subject of the Federal Labour Law, they will not pay you 3 salaries upon your resignation (as per the law). They will pay you your End of Service Benefit (EOSB) but only if they think you deserve it. I didn’t deserve it since I dared to write an Open Letter to His Highness the Chairman of Emirates Airline. So, managers thought that it was a good idea to call my Embassy and tell them that I can end up in prison for writing that letter.

Before my service was terminated I was called for meetings, punished with warnings for telling my opinion on the training and not wanting to allow that my two days off in a row be taken away from me for forced overtime and forced training. I had a misunderstanding with a passenger who was, by my opinion, aggressive and only made a scene in order to be upgraded to business class (I was very stressed out by that point already). Finally, I asked Divisional Vice President how much is her salary as she was asking me why I signed the contract with Emirates. That contract was violated many times, starting from transgression of my working hours, via refused leave and doing couple of tasks at once, sitting 6 hours without a break, to inhumane shifts of 12 hours per day 4 days in a row and insane “night” shifts which lasted until 9, 10 or 11am. I had problems with my health and sleep.

Over 64.000 people reached on Facebook.

Over 64.000 people reached on Facebook.

The behaviour of most of our superiors and managers was completely unacceptable. Airport lower grade staff did all the hard work. Managers had a job to walk around and act like bosses. Literally. Too many insecure managers can be a nightmare for employees. And overall organizational culture in EK demands from managers to behave ruthless and treat staff like children. If you can’t do it, you are not the manager EK is looking for. And you have to have connections (wastas) of course.

In several occasions this blog was so popular that it made it on the list of 100 most read WordPress blogs in the world. Open letter to His Highness had over 16.000 visitors and around 30.000 views. The same situation happened when EK managers tried to censor the blog by reporting me to WordPress.

New record is breached today. Latest blog post attracted over 27.000 visitors (according to StatCounter website) and over 40.000 views (according to WordPress statistics). Blog is on the 17th place of 100 most read blogs in the world and latest article is on 6th place today.

Over 27.000 visitors today.

Over 27.000 visitors today.

I know that management is furious. I know that they don’t like me. They never answer my e-mails and text messages when I ask for my End of Service benefit which they didn’t pay me. Journalists contacted me, but I never gave an actual interview as my goal is not to bash Emirates in media. My goal is to raise the awareness that we are all becoming cold-blooded machines for making money and that humane approach to business is lost. We are not humans anymore and we lost the battle with the system we created by ourselves.

I wish that instead of threatening me with a prison, someone from EK HR management called and told me that they don’t want me to work for them as I don’t fit their vision of Emirates employee. I wish that they told me that Ms.Anoma Manuel doesn’t like her employees not to be intimidated by her and that she wants me out of Airport Services department. I wish that someone in EK was reasonable enough to shake my hand for goodbye and give me my repatriation ticket and my EOSB. Everything would be different.

Emirates Airline management crossed the line first when they threaten me with the prison. It was madness and it gave me the whole perspective of the extent of the bullying policy that management is conducting.

I may consider shut down of this blog once I get what belongs to me. This is not a threat but a pure truth.

It would be hard to shut it down though as this blog doesn’t belong to me anymore. It belongs to all the people who found comfort from your negligence here, dear managers. I told you before that this could happen. I told you everything, actually. I told you that i have recorded you and I told you that I will go to public. It wasn’t a threat. I was simply honest. It was a plea for you to show some humanity. You have decided to be arrogant instead. You have decided to continue to treat people like they have no brains or skills, to underestimate them. 

6th among 100 most read WordPress articles in the world.

6th among 100 most read WordPress articles in the world.

I know you are angry, but please – turn that anger back to yourselves. You have mishandled the situation. You had one very bad DVP who doesn’t know how to respect her staff and you have decided to protect one incompetent manager over hundreds and thousands of employees. It was your decision and your disposable staff policy.

I have nothing to do with your mistakes and your anger.  

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Disease of Emirates Airline

New DVP EKAS has announced his coming to the Airport Services Department in the hub. He has sent two e-mails where he introduced himself and promised some changes.

Mr. Walter Riggans DVP EKAS has already managed to „walk around the airport and to find out that there are some concerns about rostered overtime“. Although it is very commendable that new DVP already promises some changes, I have doubts regarding the seriousness of his intentions and I will explain why that is (and it’s not because of his shady Sri Lankan past (click the underlined word for details) as it is humane to give every man a chance to be a better person).

First of all, management keeps ignoring the fact that this blog made a huge fuss in public thanks to the mass of unsatisfied employees who shared the links and commented posts. Many journalists have contacted me. I have refused most of them, but those who got my consent for the interview (Wall Street Journal and 24/7 Emirates, for example) contacted me once or twice and then they suddenly vanished. I suppose that EK is doing some good damage control and I don’t expect anything less of them. Damage is not my goal here so I don’t insist on media involvement for now. I have never contacted any newspapers or TV station which speaks enough about my intentions.

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Message of Mr. Rory Jones, journalist of the Wall Street Journal, who never called me again after my consent to give him an interview.

Ignoring staff’s needs and problems is a part of the known disposable staff policy in Emirates Airline and it doesn’t inspire confidence in promised changes. Let’s not talk about the fact that management is ignoring me and obligations towards me as well. I do understand their fear that I can publish any of their e-mails sent to me in order to confirm my claims that I was bullied and fired for presenting a danger of being a leader of a potential strike. Still, they don’t need to send me an e-mail, it is enough to send me my deserved and by contract promised End of Service compensation (I have asked them to do so couple of times) since they are above the Labor Law in Dubai and they don’t pay obligatory three salaries compensation.

Mr. Walter could say that he listened the audio record of the Open Forum with ex DVP Ms. Anoma Manuel or that he has spoken to EKAS managers and that this is how he found out about the problems, but he didn’t. He claims something that can hardly be the truth. His act offends other managers as well (including Ms. Anoma Manuel). They are in EKAS for a long time and it looks like they never bothered to ask their staff how they feel about certain policies and management decisions (which can easily be the truth as well) until new DVP came.

Mr. Riggans also claims that he will try to abolish “rostered overtime”. Dear Mr. Riggans, “rostered overtime” doesn’t exist in staff’s contracts, so it can only be called as every each staff is calling it – “forced overtime”. It seems to me that problems have to be called by the true name in order to be properly addressed.  Forced overtime is against every labor accomplishment of the civilization and you should stop it right now without any delay in order to save your company of the further embarrassment. If you don’t have enough staff hire new ones and make some sustainable staff policy by treating your employees like human beings and by paying them decent salaries. This way your staff won’t massively resign and you will have enough staff on the floor.

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E-mail of Mr. Walter Riggans, new DVP EKAS.

While it is very commendable that you have sent such an informative and polite letter to your employees it is also necessary for you to know that you are promising to cure the symptoms instead of a cause of the disease.  Employees can’t live with 700 euros per month salary in Dubai and the overtime that you are forcing people to come to is paid miserably. Company may be losing the profit at this moment and it can be a legitimate reason to cut the costs, but if this is the case it would be recommendable to cut the huge salaries and benefits of your managers. Saving money on those who you need desperately (customer service agents, cabin crew, pilots and other hard working staff) will not make you the first airliner in the world.

Since Emirates Airline claims to earn billions of dollars it may be a good idea to try to make your staff to volunteer for overtime by paying them their overtime hours more than 25 dirhams per hour? Maybe you should consider giving them higher salaries (to EKAS ground staff especially) in order to make them feel like they are part of something rich and powerful  (if we assume that EK is rich and powerful) instead of making them feel like replaceable beggars?

Really mature and great managers/companies don’t ignore present or ex employees and they do know when to apologize. They especially know how to not be selfish and greedy. It is too late for an apology, but greediness is a disease which can, luckily, be cured as long as you are addressing the disease itself instead of its symptoms.