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Tag Archives: Rick Helliwell VP EK

2000 Emirates flight attendants resigned in September this year?

I remember my little chat with HR manager Mr.Maktoom Mohd. Hassan after the Open forum for ground staff (when he also told me that I am “finished”). When I asked him to tell us his opinion on huge resignation rate in Emirates Airline (specifically in Airport Services) he told my friend and me that staff turnover in Emirates Airline is “usual for every big company”.

DSVP of Airport Services Mr.Mohammed Mattar, on the other hand, admitted that he is short of staff. “I don’t have enough staff so I am forcing you to come to work” he said. I guess that this logic is very simple and makes managing of huge department very easy. I was hoping, though, that managers don’t use this logic on cabin crew, since there is more to gamble with on board by forcing tired staff to fly, than when you force people to come and seat at the counters for hours without a break.

There are couple of ways to force cabin crew to work more. One is to make them fly more than certain, prescribed by law and healthy, number of hours per month and another one is to make their layovers very short. Both are illegal and both are used by Emirates Airline as ways of compensating a serious lack of trained flight attendants.

My former colleagues boarding agents (still working) tell me that there is a visible lack of cabin crew, that flights are delayed because of it and there is even a widespread story that two flights were recently cancelled due to this lack of flight crew.

I have received several e-mails from members of EK cabin crew recently, mentioning some of the reasons why they resign in number that even endangers safe flying and operation, but one information left me speechless. One of those e-mails claims that 2000 flight attendants left the company just in September this year.

Whenever I read people’s stories and decide whether to publish them or not, I always wonder about their motives to write to me and their perception of reality. In this case, even if this number is not plausible, it proves the devastated state of flight crew morale. And who would like to fly with indifferent, tired and unhappy crew?

Of course, nobody from EK management cares about staff’s morale. Nobody thinks it’s important. Managers have huge salaries and bonuses and they keep themselves motivated. Flight crew, ground staff and passengers are there to ensure their bonuses. Once these managers are done with Emirates Airline they will return to their western homes. They will never consider themselves responsible for their employees’ misery and devastation of company’s image, they will never think that somebody is lying sick somewhere because of their exploit policies, they will never remember all those people who came to contribute to “making the history” and who became history instead.

Here are just some of the problems of cabin crew in Emirates Airline.

  1. “Lousy shoes that cause many industrial injuries that the company tries not to accept blame for. A cheap quality uniform that doesn’t wear or wash well. Staff have to buy replacements for parts of the uniform. Yes, they have to buy new shoes or wear them for one year exactly before they can get new ones for free of charge.”
  2. “There is a staff shortage as many experienced crew left and sometimes managers put resignation processing on hold as they can’t process them quick enough. Resignations run around 250 plus staffs a month. Now going to over 350.”
  3. “Some crew is doing over 120 hours a month flying and are exhausted and falling sick regularly. Some fly sick as they are told no upgrade if they are sick.”
  4. “They opened a walk in clinic in HQ which is full and crew waits for hours after a flight to be seen. Before cabin crew could self certify sickness for up to seven days. Now they are bringing new system to make crew come to see the nurse every two days so they can’t recover properly and just go to work like machines.”
  5. “If crew is even 1 minute late they get into serious problems and marked absent. But if plane and flight is delayed they are expected to work for nothing.”
  6. “Cabin crew is bullied, exploit, tired and fatigued.”
  7. More on cabin crew’s problems here.

Here is one particularly interesting e-mail from one cabin crew:

Cabin crew's e-mail. 2000 crew resigned in September.

Cabin crew’s e-mail. 2000 crew resigned in September.

they have reduced some allowances (like 120 eur to 90eur in Nice which I think is stollen a lot if mobey for 24hrs). I think way bigger problem are the illegal short layovers where ek pays fines rather than giving the crew longer stopover time but this is another topic. Oh, and there’s waaaaaay more crew resigning than 250 per month.  Only in sept it was around 2000.
Can I pls add one thing. Im currently in the xxx and I have some very new girls on my flight who haven’t finished their 6month probation yet. They told me they get weighed now before the start of the training, after the training, before getting a uniform AND after probation on their graduation day.  When i joined 2012 theree was no scales whatsoever.I think this says a lot about the values of this company. Some of the newbys look anorectic to me. They cannot close any overhead locker and god forbid I have no clue how would these 21year old 178cm and  48kg girls evacuate 500ppl in 90 sec with jammed doors, injured pax, heavy equipment etc
For ek its all about image and not evaluation of real situations. Everyones fatigued, scared and demotivated.i truely dont know when was the last time I saw someone who is happy with ek as an employer. People have to know how this system is rottening!!!
All the best Dragana,

And if someone has to say something in Emirates Airline’s defence, I would politely ask them to explain first the fact that Kevin Griffiths, Senior Vice President of Cabin Crew was demoted recently with a serious remuneration cut.

Before you continue to question everything that is said here, please explain first why some high levelled EK Human Resources managers were fired recently without a chance to even clean their desks before exiting the company?

Please explain why you didn’t publish results of the survey on employees’ satisfaction yet as you have promised?

Mr. Abdulaziz's (Head of EK HR) promise to publish result of a long gone survey on employees' satisfaction

Mr. Abdulaziz’s (Head of EK HR) promise to publish the results of a long gone survey on employees’ satisfaction

Dear managers, you can not keep denying things written on this blog and yet keep the reasons for firing and demoting big name managers as a secret. Something is obviously very wrong as people on this blog are pointing out for 4 months now.

But be careful in your answers though as you must write your comments online in the way your company has instructed you recently. I guess many managers do not follow these rules in their every day work (respecting people, differences and cultures), therefore they do not feel obliged to follow them online. And I guess that threats became usual and desirable way of making employees behave like managers want them to behave, so remember those of you, regular employees who want to write an honest comment here: you are tracked and observed by your company when writing online (at least this is how this first “rule” tries to scare you):

Mr.Jon Conway's (DSVP-UAE Airport Operations) instruction on how to behave online

Mr.Jon Conway’s (DSVP-UAE Airport Operations) instruction on how to behave online

I guess we just need time to see how much exactly is current Emirates staff turnover “usual” for big companies.

Happy New Year.

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When people become wolves always hungry for more money

I’ve said this couple of times here and these “The National” articles just confirm it: you give love at the places you receive love; same goes for the hate. Place that lures people to come and live in it just in order to drain money from them, can’t expect bright future for itself. This kind of place loses all the humanity, money becomes God and people turn into wolves, biting each other for a coin (just like EK managers do).

I am afraid that the whole planet turned into one greedy place where people forgot that they are all connected and that happiness of others means happiness of oneself. But there are places in the world where love still exists and where money didn’t kill all the nobleness. You decide if you live in one of those places and whether you are contributing to its sustainability or to its devastation (like many EK managers do). You decide if you are truly happy or miserable as hell although you have (bloody) money and all that goes with it.

Articles:

UAE expats priced out of their lives

http://www.thenational.ae/business/personal-finance/uae-expats-priced-out-of-their-lives

I‘ve recently come across a growing number of people who are packing up and leaving the UAE, others who are seriously contemplating it, and many who are being vocal about their pain, but are staying put – for now.

Add to this snippets of conversation overheard about this when I’m out and about.

The problem is the cost of living.

Expats who come on bumper packages and have the increasingly pricey outgoings of rent and education covered – wholly or partially – won’t be affected by this. It’s long-term residents and entrepreneurs who are being hurt the most, especially those with children of school-going age.

And these two groups of people are exactly what any city needs; they choose to live here and want to stay, but cannot afford to.

In the past fortnight alone I have discovered that a handful of neighbours will be leaving the country – one family in particular embodies what’s happening: they’ve been in Dubai for a couple of decades – with one short-term hiatus in the late 1990s owing to family circumstances – and they’re torn. Both the husband and wife have built up businesses in the UAE, their three children are very settled and love their lives, and they genuinely believe that Dubai has a lot more to offer than what’s available back home. But the double whammy of rising fees along with not being paid on time by clients has hit them hard.

This is a family that saves but can’t any more – and they’ve been dipping into savings over many months to survive. Their life lurches from one term’s school fees to the next. And it just doesn’t work for them.

But they’re struggling with the decision to leave.

Everything’s in place for them to go come the end of the year: they have a yard sale in a week and grandparents are over to spend one last Christmas in the UAE sun.

But it’s tough. It’s not just that they’re saying goodbye to special friends, the only life their children know and their hopes for their futures here, it’s also that this time it’s different: going means never coming back, and that’s affecting them. A lot. They can’t come back because they would never be able to afford entry level prices to live in the UAE once again. Finding a home, for example, would be a major barrier once they give up their current lease. Their place is going for Dh280,000 these days, but they pay Dh150,000 – and they only moved in a year- and-a-half ago.

Their basic outgoings add up to Dh600,000 a year. That’s school fees for three, rent, utilities and other basic, red-tape and living costs. They could do a lot with that money back home – where schooling is free.

I’m told that when confronted with a dilemma and not being able to work out what’s best for them, this couple tosses a coin and goes with fate.

I don’t believe they’ll be doing that this time round. It just doesn’t make sense to stay.

A view echoed by friends who got together earlier in the month to celebrate someone’s 40 years in the UAE. Many of these long-term expat residents are upping sticks too. Most don’t have children at school, but they also find that the UAE isn’t what it used to be.

Of course there will always be people who bemoan a past lost for ever. Cities change – but this isn’t just about a fast-paced metropolis evolving, it’s also very much about how difficult it is to live in a place where you cannot save, and where you have no benevolent government that will pay your way when you go back home. So the cash-flow crunch dictates that people either live irresponsibly – not providing for the future – or make very emotional decisions and go elsewhere.

But some – I call them “expat prisoners” – can’t leave. These are people who have superb track records in their fields and cannot get jobs back home because of their age. The big question is: if everything they earn goes out to pay for their lives and if there’s no hope of them saving, or of creating additional streams of income, is it worth staying?

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Some are trying to figure out how to do both: stay and stem the money haemorrhage. I met someone last weekend who is contemplating moving to Ras Al Khaimah or somewhere in between there and Dubai, purely to get out of the rent hell that is her Dubai at the moment. Not only has her rent been put up by 20 per cent (take it or leave it), but she has just been told that no money will be put into the property as it seems it’s been earmarked for demolition.

Scores of people want to stay and contribute to the place they call home. When people like this can’t afford to to make ends meet, we lose more than just another expat.

Nima Abu Wardeh is the founder of the personal finance website cashy.me. You can reach her at nima@cashy.me

Why making ends meet simply isn’t enough for UAE expats struggling with rising costs

http://www.thenational.ae/business/personal-finance/why-making-ends-meet-simply-isnt-enough-for-uae-expats-struggling-with-rising-costs

We came in 2000 with promise and hope

We’re leaving this month being strung by a rope

The rope of high costs, bad mortgage and loans

No cash in the bank, down to the bare bones

This ode is for all, who like us are in stress

Don’t leave it too late to get out of this mess

Before you read on, you might well just say

“It’s all your own fault, why on earth did you stay?!”

After 14 long years of blood, sweat and tears

We couldn’t just run leaving all the arrears

If you’re struggling and stressing over bills you must pay

Just wrap it all up and call it a day

This is part of a poem I was sent in response to my column last week “Expats priced out of their lives”. It nails it for every single person who reached out to me having read the piece.

The message is clear: people are in pain. Today I’d like to share what I’ve learnt from the responses. Two things come up throughout:

• People are having difficulty “hanging on”, as someone put in a tweet to me.

• The serious and ongoing ramifications as a result of the financial crisis and the resulting economic dive in 2009 are now coming to a head.

This is a smattering of what was shared:

“We felt like wallets with legs.”

“My descriptor for ‘the only way to be in the UAE’ is to get a safe and secure salary, guaranteed housing, schools paid for, just do the job you are paid for and, sadly, don’t invest any of yourself into the country.”

Seeing as those who wrote in were mainly entrepreneurs or professionals who don’t get their outgoings covered, this makes sense.

The things is, we’re dealing with an ongoing conflict of wanting to invest – at the very least emotionally – in where we’re living, while “knowing” that one day we will leave.

This is how one astute person put it:

“After you’ve spent more than five years here, you stop thinking of it as a working holiday-in-the-sun and start thinking about it as a long-term proposition.”

This is the story of another entrepreneur who certainly thought of the UAE as a long-term home, albeit temporary: since 2008 he has ploughed more than Dh10 million of profit back into the UAE. Two decades on he’s throwing in the towel.

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“My original long-range plan was to live in Dubai until 2025, I’m just leaving 11 years early. Why? I can’t pinpoint any one thing that pushed me over the edge on one fell swoop. It has been about three years coming, more and more discontent, more and more discussing the value of being in Dubai vis-a-vis somewhere else.

“In April of this year our sponsor told us he was going to change the terms of our agreement and wanted more money. Then our trade licence that we have had with no problems since 2007 kept getting rejected over and over again, then our warehouse landlord raised our rents by nearly 100 per cent. At that point my CFO got fed up and recommended we close shop since our profit margins had dropped to very low single digits. I held out for four more months but I’m now done. It just isn’t worth it any more. “

The key for success is sustainability. The ability of people to sustain themselves, and if they can then by default a city can sustain itself too.

Not too long ago, people suffered the immense stress of having to leave their lives behind either because they were pushed – downsizing, going bust and so on – or because they ran. No one wants that to happen again.

Back to the entrepreneur: “Would I do it all over again? Yes. What would I do different?”

Well, suffice to say that he would have prioritised his ‘forever home’ as a place to invest in.

He ends with this:

“Don’t get me wrong, I’m not leaving Dubai destitute but I sure am a lot less well off then if I had left in 2008-09 or even if I hadn’t started any of my companies. Sad but I’ll pick myself up and do it all over again.”

This person isn’t living hand-to-mouth – but many here are. There is a clear call for help from a growing number of expats, along with a desire to make things work for them so that they can continue to live and work in the UAE.

While you think over your own situation, I will leave you with another line from the poem:

We defended this town saying how great it will be

At the end of the day, it’s just “Me, Me, Me, Me.”

Nima Abu Wardeh is the founder of the personal finance website cashy.me. You can reach her at nima@cashy.me


Dragana stopped blogging?

I’ve found this search term on my blog today “Dragana stopped blogging”. Please, be informed that I didn’t stop blogging, I just said everything that I had to say.

As a result of my articles EKAS department is freed from bullying and unprofessional behaviour of a bad mannered and uneducated person by the name Anoma Manuel and following HR SVPs were terminated from the service:

  • Sophia Panayiotou, Senior Vice President Human Resources Business Support,
  • Katarina Ciumei, Senior Vice President Human Resources (Remuneration and Planning),
  • Rick Helliwell, Vice President – Corporate Leadership and Talent Management.

Although all of this means that I was right all the time, nobody from EK called me to apologize or to fulfil their obligations towards me. This speaks enough for itself. There is nobody in Emirates Airline capable enough to lead the company anywhere else than in the complete and total human resource disaster and maybe a bankruptcy as well. Of course, nobody will believe this until it actually happens.

I got offers from some EK passengers who want me to open a special page for them on my blog, where they can talk about bad customer service and negligence they are getting from EK. I am not sure whether to do that as damaging the image of EK was never my goal. Employees’ well-being is, on the other hand, my goal.

This web address is always open for everyone who wants to publish their stories and cases.

My e-mail address is dragana.blog.ek@gmail.com and if you are experiencing any kind of injustice or harassment and you want to talk about it in public (and anonymously), do not hesitate to send me an e-mail any time.


Is Emirates Airline among 50 companies best to work for?

When I supposed to go to Ms. Anoma Manuel’s office for a meeting, I have printed out a list of 10 companies which are the best to work for and 10 companies which crumbled due to management’s greediness. I never showed her those lists since that meeting turned into complete surprise, especially as Amanda Maxwell – MHR-HRBS-EKAS & SKYCARGO was present. Ms. Amanda’s  behaviour was far away from professional as she told me in one moment (in a hysterical manner) – “I’ve had enough of you!”. All I did was telling Ms. Anoma and Ms. Amanda that I think that Dubai Labour Law is violated, and I’ve got this reaction from Ms. Amanda. I was surprised at first. Never in my professional life I have seen such a condescending behaviour of one manager towards their staff. Later on, when I got to know Ms. Amanda better, I’ve seen her treating employees like children, speaking with them in a, paradoxically, immature and inappropriate way. Ms. Amanda Maxwell also told me that I will “never advance in this company because I will always be known as a girl who wrote five pages e-mail to DVP” (my warning appeal). I was honestly startled with this sentence as well, since it is inconceivable for me that one HR manager can threaten their employee in such a shameless way. I have asked Ms. Amanda about the meaning of this statement at our Open forum, but it was explained to me that I have “misunderstood” her. Ms. Sophia Panayiotou former SVP HRBS even included this question of mine in the list of reasons why I was fired.

I will publish another article about Ms. Amanda soon enough, since she is an HR manager who has a direct contact with EKAS staff.

Seems like my intention to present a list of companies best to work for was prophetic because Emirates Airline president Tim Clark wanted to use the results of a recent survey about employees’ satisfaction in Emirates Airline (conducted soon after publication of Open Letter to His Highness Ahmed) to put EK on the list of 50 companies best to work for, apparently. According to my source (screenshots below the article), survey results were devastating, so presidency decided to terminate contracts of several SVPs and VPs. And while we are waiting for the official result of this survey (although we can not trust it much), we can only speculate about names of managers whose contracts have been terminated:

  • Sophia Panayiotou, SVP HRBS,
  • Katarina Ciumei, SVP HR (Remuneration and Planning),
  • Rick Helliwell, VP – Corporate Leadership and Talent Management.

Some of the managers were just moved to another position, so besides Anoma Manuel, former DVP EKASKevin Griffits, SVP Cabin Crew was moved to another position as well. If I made a mistake in this list, please do notify me. I am ready to apologize if I am mistaken or if I have a wrong information.

Seems that presidency didn’t know or did not want to know the true, catastrophic state of working conditions inside their own company. And while we can read all over the internet how Emirates “can hardly train its staff fast enough” due to “high business demands and huge and successful company expansion”, only thousands of cabin crews and ground staffs who resigned, can testify about the true nature of these fast recruitments and trainings: due to massive staff dissatisfaction, cabin crew (and all the other staff) massively resign, so Emirates Airline has no other choice than to quickly hire new staff to cover the lack of staff on board and at the airport.

I have also heard the story that cabin crews are forced to return from long flights travelling on duty travel tickets (if the type of the aircraft is, for some reason, changed at the destination and company doesn’t need all crews from the first flight). Extra crews are sent back to Dubai as regular passengers so that company doesn’t need to pay them their flight hours for a return flight. If the new aircraft requires more staff, existing cabin crews just work more for the same pay cheque.

I will conclude this article with my two cents: the answer to the question from the title is a big NO. A company which brutally exploits its employees, endangering their health and mental conditions, for, often, barely surviving salary (of 700 euros, which is how much ground staffs have), with almost no opportunity for advancement and very present nepotismcorruption, arrogant staff treatment and unfair dismissals, can only be listed on some very unpopular and unflattering list.

HR SVPs fired.

HR SVPs fired.

VP fired.

VP fired.

Cabin Crew is suffering

Cabin Crew is suffering