Tuesday, 2 October 2012
Come fly with me or should I say our agency staff
One of my abiding memories of working with Belfast City Council was Bill Clinton's Presidential visit. It wasn't the razzmatazz or even the special agents approach to sweeping the building, but bizarrely, that Clinton met a disproportionate number of Agency staff about whom very little was known. I sometimes ask myself: 'did we escape a terrorist attack by the skin of our teeth?' Are there some roles which shouldn't be considered suitable for temporary staff?
It is against that background I was amazed to learn of what now seems to be an over-dependency of Ryanair on Agency staff. Not temporary baggage handlers, not temporary cabin crew, not even temporary check-in staff - no agency staff as aircraft pilots!
It has now been suggested that 72% of those flying Ryanair are Agency staff ; 1,694 of the 2,344 pilots.
Is this a step too far? I fly an enormous amount; at least two flights a week. I quite like the idea that the pilot is being paid a reasonable wage, is regularly trained and checked for competence, is free to stay off work if considered sick, is not likely to be over-tired and has a vested interest in the success of the company. I also quite like the idea that they have a vested interest and are motivated as opposed to feeling vulnerable, if they express safety concerns. To me those are less likely to be the norm with agency staff. I certainly don't want to learn that the pilot was contracted on lowest price and that more costly, experienced pilots are in full-time employment.
I just wonder if sometimes procurement staff should be questioning 'is this the most appropriate procurement?'. What will it be next: brain surgeons, nuclear scientists, bomb disposal experts? Are there some areas where it is a mistake to procure? (answers via comments please?)