Employees Fighting Back For Fair Working Rights

over 1 year ago
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It’s been a tough time for the Aviation industry after all the travel restrictions during the COVID-19 pandemic and its slow return to get back to the pace and standard we were used to before 2020. In the last few months, we have seen delayed and cancelled flights, hold-ups when checking in or collecting our bags, and the latest this week with British Airways putting a cap on their short haul flights. So much so that they suspended sales until August 15th in an attempt to limit passenger numbers to 100,000 a day to tackle the shortage of staff in recent months.

But this shortage of staff isn’t down to just not enough employees in the industry, it’s also about current staff members taking action and protesting for better working conditions. This isn’t just a UK issue, it’s something that is happening across much of Europe. This month EasyJet and Ryanair will strike in Spain, as will Lufthansa in Germany, and over the last few days air-port staff in Portugal have threatened to strike in protest of the country’s air-ports not increasing wages or providing safer working conditions. Unions said that staff have seen a lack in social stability and respect for workers’ rights. As for the Spanish Pilot Union Sepla they’re seeing strikes by their pilots who are demanding to re-establish working conditions to how they used to be before the COVID-19 pandemic and to provide its staff with new multi-year contracts. Also factor in that fuel prices have gone up due to the war in Ukraine, while wages have gone down or can’t keep up with inflation and the cost of living.

Many employees are going to their work’s union to take industrial action in the hope of improved working conditions. But it’s not just in aviation where employees are fighting for their worth. It’s important for companies to explore how they can retain their staff in this uncertain time as companies across the country continue to face what is known as the ‘Great Resignation’. There are a number of reasons for this. Employees in some sectors are facing longer working hours to hold the fort due to low staffing, and seeing reduced bene-fits that don’t match up to the good old days of bonuses and attractive pension payments.

But what steps do employers need to take to ensure they’re holding onto good talent and not losing them to competitors?

Offer competitive salaries and benefits - There are plenty of companies out there looking for impressive staff who can bring value to the table. Many people at the moment are less likely to return to jobs where they are under-paid and overworked. As employees understand and appreciate their worth more in recent years - from building on their skillset or improving their experience and knowledge in a particular area - they are becoming attractive options to businesses with bigger salaries to offer. If you can match these when competition comes fighting, then great. If not, think about what staff benefits you have that go above and beyond what others have in place - this could be private health insurance, company cars, gym memberships and the like.

Have a good workplace culture - Getting out of bed in the morning is made all the more easier when you have a great place of work to walk into and a team ethic that share the same values and personalities. This also includes diversity, inclusion and equality where each and every employee feels appreciated. Word of mouth can be a powerful thing when recruiting for new roles within the company and if your staff are praising how great a place it is to work, outsiders are more likely to take an interest. On the flip side, if a business has a bad reputation or has had reports of sexual harassment or unfair working conditions, then not only are you putting off potential new employees, your staff with also be likely to reconsider their loyalty to the organisation.

Get on board with hybrid and flexible working - It’s no surprise that after the pandemic employees are asking for a more flexible way of working to have an optimum work-life balance. Whether that’s employees who have a family and need to fit in the school run around their jobs or individuals who have moved further away, it’s worth asking yourself as a company if they can work fully remote or do a few days in the office a week. Having this as part of a contract is very attractive to new and current staff.

Listen to feedback and take it on board - As individuals we all want to be heard, especially if there is an issue on our hands where we want to be taken seriously. The recent strike action in aviation is exactly that, unhappy workers who are taking a stand to demand improvements. As a business it’s important that staff satisfaction is more than satisfactory. This can be monitored with regular check-ins on a personal or team level with online questionnaires and forum meetings where you talk about needs, wants and those things that sometimes grind your gears. Taking on board this feedback shows that you care about your team and that you want to do everything in your power to make positive changes. Sometimes feedback can be a difficult truth to swallow but it’s essential to ensure that your workforce is happy.

It’s certainly a tough time for companies across a wide range of industries, with record high opportunities on offer and not enough staff. Omega is on hand to offer advice and guidance on attracting the best talent and how to keep them as part of your team on a long-term basis. Our impressive success rates speak for themselves. To find out more how our consultants can help, call us on 01453 827333.