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More hours, less pay!

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Hi there,


I have a complex scenario that I'd love to have your opinions on.


I work for an airline - lets call it Cowboy Airlines - as cabin crew. I hold a permanent contract of employment and have been employed by them for a number of years.


My pay works as follows:


Basic pay: in the region of £12000 per annum.

Commission: 10% of onboard sales divided between the crew working on that flight. For example, if we sell £1000 worth of goods, we receive £20-25 depending on the number of crew. Total works out at anywhere between £100 and £300 per month, sometimes more.

Nightstop pay: A set amount per night spent away from home. Not very frequent.

Finally, the problem. Flight pay.


I am paid for each individual flight I work on. For example, from A to B then back to A counts as two flights. A-B-A-C-A counts as four. I am paid according to the following schedule:


Flights less than 400 nautical miles - short - 0.8 of nominal rate.

Flights between 400-1000 nautical miles - medium - 1.2 of nominal rate.

Flights over 1000 nautical miles - long - 1.5 of nominal rate.


When I joined Cowboy Airlines, the longest flight we did was to a Greek destination. It usually worked out at about 3-3.5 hours each way, and I would be paid 3.0 times the nominal pay rate - roughly £45.


However, Cowboy Airlines took over Pointy Rock Airlines a year ago, and we began flying to destinations that are further away.


For example, we now fly to an Egyptian destination (there and back in one day. Flight time of 5-5.5 hours each way, total time "at work" upwards of 13 hours.) As this falls into the long pay band, I receive 3.0 times the nominal rate, again roughly £45. However, I have worked for about three hours longer than if I had gone to the aforementioned Greek destination.


To make matters worse, because I was one of only a few trained on Pointy Rock Airlines aircraft, I seem to only fly the longer routes that these aircraft fly. My colleagues, mainly, continue with a roster similar to mine before I was seconded.


One of my colleagues may be rostered to fly, in one day, UK-Southern France-UK-Italy-UK, about a 12 hour day. This counts as four medium sectors, therefore pays 4.8 times the nominal pay rate - roughly £71. However, I end up flying to Egypt, spending an hour or two longer at work (and remember, we are not paid for extra time incurred by delays) and I get paid almost £30 less.


Or, similarly, one might fly UK-Holland-UK-Holland-UK, be home in less than 9 hours, and be paid four short sectors - roughly £47. Again, a few pounds more for four hours less work.


Cowboy Airlines says it's ok because I earn more commission on my Egypt flight. This is not always the case, and even if it was, I have to work very hard to earn that commission. Commission is my reward for selling items onboard, not for flying.


I really don't know what to do. My union is useless and I'm fed up of having to work on these long flights and get paid less than my colleagues who get home long before me. Technically speaking, Cowboy Airlines *is* paying me according to my contract, as a long sector is "anything over 1000 nautical miles", so I don't know legally where I stand.


Any advice appreciated and please let me know if you'd like more information.



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