Monday, 28 March 2011

More Strikes by BA Cabin Crew

I can not believe it!!! When will these Cabin Crew ever learn that they have no support from anyone but themselves.
I have been flying regularly for the last 30 years, and in the last 15 up to 40 to 50 flights per year. When I started flying BA was the preferred supplier to our company ( and unfortunately still is !!) and because it was easy to get a Silver or Gold card with all the kudos that attracted, I and many of my colleagues went out of their way to fly BA. Eventually Executive Club Cards were more difficult to obtain due to BA changes to the rules and so my flight preferences generally were based on convenience. This opened my eyes to better experiences when flying.
The BA cabin crew used to be friendly, pleasant, efficient and a made the travel experience relatively enjoyable.
However in recent times the change to Terminal 4 was a disaster, the lack of an Executive Club Card a slight disappointment, but the attitude and professionalism of the BA Cabin Crew and also many of the Ground Crew made the flying experience with BA uncomfortable.
The BA employees seem to have lost sight almost totally of the phrase "customer service", which in all aspects of life I seem to value more and more. They appear to be self-centered and only go through the motions on board the flights. There are many occasions when I have seen people almost embarrassed to interrupt the conversations between staff as their private lives appear more important than the customers' needs.
The BA staff have been extremely privileged in the past with perks far greater than the ordinary working folk.
If they were in fact being really hard done by, and if they were providing excellent service then it is possible they might get some support outside of their own circle.
However, they are being led by a union ( UNITE ) that seems hell bent on destroying BA. The union appears to need publicity and membership increase  as they are well known for overstating their membership figures ( by as much as 20% ) and in my opinion, seem to be using the BA cabin Crew fort heir own purposes rather than for the benefit of the BA employees.
Check all the comments on the Internet and in the press and see how much support there is for the Cabin Crew and Unite - very little.
So come on BA management - don't give in to this riff raff. Employ better staff, retrain the ones you keep and get your eye back on the ball of customer service. I will not use BA again by choice, only through necessity, as if I have a choice I will use Austrian, Air France, Lufthansa, Swiss Air - all who give a more pleasant experience to the traveller.

Saturday, 26 March 2011

Hundreds Arrested Amid Violence At Mass Demo

I could write about this for hours but it will not get me far - why? Because large sections of the public, expecially members of groups, political parties, public servants only hear what they want to hear and what their leaders want them to understand.
Bigotry is so deep seated in politics and Trades Unions that it would appear that their views would never change.
Unfortunately many of these views defy logic.
I read a comment relating to the news of the demonstration that was complaining about the state of pensions at the same time as condemning the greed of shareholders.
WHERE THE HELL DO THEY THINK THE MONEY COMES FROM FOR PENSIONS. I apologise for telling the informed majority but for the uninformed if you do not invest in a way that your money grows then your pensions will be worthless.
In the private sector the money paid for pensions is invested in funds that give returns to pay pensioners in the future. In many areas of the public sector the monies were never invested but pensioners are paid from current receipts. More and more pensioners, less and less receipts - do I need to explain further?
Many of the minority groups in this country, like political parties, trades unions, members of Liberty need to realize that 60 million people in this country were not at the demonstration. There were approximately 2 million people fishing, 10 million visiting friends and family, 15 million working. etc, etc,.
Come on you SILENT MAJORITY. For our sakes and the sake of our descendants start to educate these minority groups. Join in these discussion, write comments, start your own blogs, Tweet and send to Facebook. Do something, just like I have because we really need to make a difference now. 

Sir Alex Ferguson versus BBC

So Sir Alex Ferguson is to meet Mark Thompson of the BBC according to the Daily Mirror. Who really cares?
We pay our TV Licence fees  and this ignorant man refuses to speak to us but sends one of his lackeys to talk to the BBC. He only has a job because we pay for the football, either directly or indirectly and it is an absolute affront that he puts his own personal gripe with the BBC before his duty to talk to the public.
It is right that he should be sanctioned by the football authorities.
Until he deigns to talk publicly about his work then the media should boycott his workplace and impose a complete media blackout on anything connected with Manchester United until he is removed from his post.
Too many well known people think they can put themselves above the rest of us but if they are in the public domain they should remain there or totally remove themselves.
The rights or wrongs of his disagreement with the BBC are neither here nor there to most of us and he has not backed his actions by any legal means but resorts to pathetic puerile petulance.
Grow up Ferguson or retire.

Tuesday, 22 March 2011

More PUBLIC SERVANT strikes planned

Here we go again. Yet minority another group of public servants holding the taxpayers to ransom because they have the power ( but absolutely not the right ) to do so.
A 'day of action' on Thursday has been planned by the University and College Union (UCU). Members are angry at the plans to raise retirement age, increase contributions and closure of their final salary scheme.
Where have these "academics" been living for the last 10 years. MILLIONS of private sector workers have had to put up with these changes and have not been able to disrupt the country because they are not in unions, or their employers do not recognise unions. These millions who have suffered are the ones paying the salaries and a large percentage of the pensions that these academics enjoy.
Do they really expect 20 million people to put their hands in their pockets and pay them more out of sympathy? We really can not afford to have our earnings milked anymore by these minority groups. 
UCU general secretary Sally Hunt said "University staff really value their pension rights and have made their views of the detrimental changes crystal clear" .
What the hell does she think the rest of us feel about having to pay more for our pensions, having them reduced and so having to work longer?
It is now a fact that pensions in the PUBLIC SECTOR are greater than those in the PRIVATE SECTOR.
Come on, you SILENT MAJORITY for your own sakes speak up now. Make your feelings known and tell these idiots that they can not expect us to fund them any more.
Other unions, including the Association of Teachers and Lecturers, are preparing to ballot members on possible strike action over pensions.
Write to your MP's, tweet on twitter, comment on BLOGS, write to your local press. Do not sit at home and think "it doesn't really affect me". Of course it does and is part of the reason we are less well of than before and our standard of living will go down at the expense of those who are paid to serve the public.
I mentioned in my last blog the idea that there might be "food riots". This latest type of selfishness is much more likely to result in civil unrest than the cost of food increasing 

Tuesday, 15 March 2011

Food Riots

A senior economist at the worldwide bank HSBC has warned of civil unrest in Britain if food prices continue to soar. Speaking on Jeff Randall Live, senior global economist Karen Ward cautioned that the UK could experience the kind of food riots seen in other countries.
This type of comment is sheer sensationalism and really has no place in our society. People who make strong statements like this must be curbed for such irresponsibility.
If we want to do something about the economic effect on our lives then the power lies in the hands of 60 million people and not one idiotic economist. We do not need riots in this country as it will cost the taxpayers money again.
If we could get organised better it would only be necessary to put pressure on food and fuel retailers one at a time just to prove we can do it. Say, for example, a few million of the SILENT MAJORITY agreed to BOYCOTT a supermarket chain and a fuel retailer just for one week until they agreed to reduce their prices then ALL retailers would have to think twice before increaseing their prices as frequently as they do. This could also follow for utilities ( except water which is monopolised ) and services such as Sky television.
Food and fuel retailers seem to think it is acceptable to increase costs to the public in order to protect their income.
Our income does not increase as we have no way of doing so and therefore our personal "profit" decreases in difficult times.
It is time retailers reduced their profits in difficult times and spread the pain across the whole society instead of always taking it out on those who can ill afford the increases.
I understand that they feel they must protect their share prices and the shareholders, but we, the normal majority of people are the ones who constantly bear the brunt of the difficult times. It is time now to share the burden and change priorities.

Friday, 11 March 2011

Public Sector Pensions

The distress and upset caused by announced changed in pension benefits is something which affects everyone and has an impact nearly as great as redundancy.
It can make people feel cheated and devalued and forces them to rethink their future more carefully. This has been the case for several years now in the PRIVATE SECTOR where only approximately 35 % of the employees have pension provisions as opposed to 85% in the PUBLIC SECTOR. There are almost no “Final Salary Schemes” left and so most employees who had these great schemes are now placed into less advantageous pension funds.
Some had the choice to continue in Final Salary Schemes but this entailed additional contributions up to 15% of salary which in many cases was also met by another 15% from the employer. In order to gain a good final salary pension it is currently necessary to put approximately 32% of earnings into a fund.
The impact of this was enormous and indeed only those close to retirement could contemplate the additional contributions whereas the younger element were naturally forced to join “Money Purchase Schemes” which have an unknown yield at the end of the working life.
The pensions of the PUBLIC SECTOR have generally been much more favourable than those of the PRIVATE SECTOR, with earlier retirement and smaller contributions. Unlike the PRIVATE SECTOR the monies for the pensions were not placed into funds which would increase through investment but the pensions are paid for by TAX PAYERS. That means that the shortfall between an average contribution of 8% and the 32% necessary to produce a good pension is met by tax payers. As there are 4 times as many taxpayers as PUBLIC SECTOR workers this means the average funding is 6% for every worker. That would mean someone still in a final salary scheme contributing 15% to his scheme and an additional 6% to pay PUBLIC SECTOR pensions while their contributions remain at 8%.
The review recently published that recommends pension calculations based over the working life is FAR MORE GENEROUS than necessary and should be welcomed gratefully.
The tax payers are no longer prepared to pay out more to give PUBLIC SECTOR workers more generous conditions than they themselves have for their retirement.
It is obvious and expected that Trades Unions will stir up their members for strike action but this time it MUST BE TO NO AVAIL. The Government and Councils and all tax payers must totally resist the form of blackmail that the PUBLIC SECTOR will place on the rest of us. They have to equalise their conditions to the rest of the country, difficult as it may be.

Tuesday, 8 March 2011

Who's Money

It seems recently that we are being bombarded with rhetoric that is designed specifically to stir up  the emotions and anti-government feeling. Who is behind this sustained attack on our senses and our reasoning ability?I feel that in particular the media are behaving in a most irresponsible manner in order to increase either their circulation or viewing figures. The silent majority has no way to express opinions on a wide base such as press, radio or television. I sent a letter to the local paper and although it was published as the leading letter, it had been censored without my knowledge or agreement and therefore the whole sense of what I was trying to convey was diluted.
We are subjected to the views on televison, radio and in the press only of minority groups such as the Labour Party, the Tory Party, Unison, GMB, NFU etc., etc.
The total membership of these minority groups is less than 10 million which means that the other 50 million of us have no voice at all.
These minority groups combined with the desperate media are trying to twist our view of reality. They use words such as "devastating" to describe the effect on the police of a pay cut. Devastating means "destroying completely"
There is constant reference to Government Financial cuts as if the Government can produce money and then decide how to spend it.
The reality is that ALL THE MONEY comes from our back pockets and purses. Whether this is through taxes and other deductions, or the increase in goods and services such as utility prices where tax is also deducted from the profits for the Government's Treasury WE ARE THE ONES PAYING.
So when the public sector want their fringe benefits maintained, their overtime paid for, services that we can not do without, WHERE DO THEY THINK THE MONEY COMES FROM.
Yes, cuts are terrible and affect many sectors of our society in uncomfortable ways but I for one am no longer prepared to put my hand in my pocket and pay out more of my earnings for all these social benefits, road repairs, libraries, or whatever some people see as essentials. 50% of all I earn is going back to the country either directly or indirectly and I want to keep what I have left and not spend any more,
There are times in all our lives when things are difficult to manage, either through illness, loss of jobs, children arriving, education to pay for, high interest rates, but in the end we have to balance our own budgets and buy what is necessary and what we can afford.
Every sector of society, whether it be the police, charities, hospitals, road repairers all believe they have a special case and indeed if we won the Euro Millions we would all be happy to pay for these services but at the moment it is no longer feasable to spend more than we are earning as a society.

Saturday, 5 March 2011

Let's get down to business

This is the start of my attacks on modern business practices which I believe add no value to the customer. It is my opinion that if a task or process adds no value for the customer then DON'T DO IT!!!
These days business has been complicated by people who do not have experience or confidence enough to operate successfully or efficiently.
I want to take a brief look at one modern idea as an example of the stupidities we have to endure and that is the idea of CONSIGNMENT STOCKS.
This concept originated in the Automotive Industry and was designed to reduce the stock holding of the manufacturer and increase his inventory turns. No doubt Inventory turns was a key performance indicator that some managers were judged by, but that is beside the point.
The use of Consignment stocks is a great idea if you "do it to them before they do it to you". However, if we look at the total business process from raw materials to the retail market then it would appear that if every organisation in the supply chain adopted this process then the goods that each member of that chain stocked would ultimately be at the material value plus all the added value he had added to it, as he would be holding "Finished Goods" instead of "Raw Materials". (Except the retailer !!!)
There will undoubtedly be  some pundits who will come up with a justification for this but in reality there is no benefit to the ordinary man in the street who buys the final product as he will go to the store, select his goods and pay his money EXACTLY AS HE DID BEFORE.
Trying to manage consignment stock is a more difficult process than managing without it as it involves additional steps in paperwork.
I work for a company that is now being managed primarily by Americans who unfortunately do not always have a grasp of reality because in Europe particularly and also South America, laws relating to the ownership of goods and the use of "Self Billing Invoicing" varies.
Also the common practice in each country differs. For example in America the majority of manufacturers have contracts with their suppliers that allow the practice of self billing, whereas, culturally, in Central Europe for example this is not normal practice.
I have written this to try to persuade managers not necessarily to change, but to ponder why they use this process. Is it because it is a sensible business practice ( for a one-off gain in cashflow ) or is because it is the latest trend in business and all their friends and peers are doing it)
I believe this practice, as well as others I will discuss in later articles, is not the  product of some well thought out strategy but more than likely an ill considered directive from above, about which most managers and employees feel unable to comment.