Flight Crew Threatens Service Without a Smile

cathay pacificBy Dawn Cranfield

Flight Crew Threatens Service Without a Smile

Flight attendants for the Hong Kong based airline, Cathay Pacific, have voted in favor of a “work to rule” action after their union negotiations with the airline stalled.  Work to rule means the crew members will only perform the exact duties as required and will not execute any additional tasks.

Union members had been requesting a 5% salary increase for 2013, but instead were granted a mere 2% pay bump.   Tsang Kwok-fung, general secretary of the union, claims the modest raise is unreasonable, adding “it was the same rate offered during severe external crises, such as SARS and the worldwide financial crisis.”  (cnn.com)

The work to rule scenario means flight attendants will ensure the safety of passengers from boarding to their destination; soft drinks, nuts, alcohol, and blankets would be considered non-essential luxuries and will not be provided by them, nor will the smiles.  However, according to Tsang, they will likely distribute water.

“‘The basic role of a flight attendant is to take care of safety measures on flights and to take passengers from one point to another point safely,’” Tsang said, adding that serving food and beverages were extra services required by the airline.” (cnn.com)

Interesting concept for a “strike” against your employer; will passengers respond to having their snacks and drinks being held hostage?  Howsmile about their service with a smile?

I started to think about all of the little things employees do that are not part of their job description; things your employer still expects you to do.  Those must be the part of the job description under the heading “Other duties as assigned”; sneaky human resources managers.

While I was working for one of the major manufacturing corporations, and it was time for my annual review; I was dismayed when I learned I was required to write the entire review myself.  Apparently it was the new trend, having employees write their own employee evaluation, their own action plan for improvement, and then the manager reviews it, talks to the employee and signs the form.  Brilliant.

Actually, it made me feel as if I was doing my manager’s job; but, nobody asked for my opinion.  There was one caveat; we were specifically told we were not allowed to score the highest rating of “excellent” on any portion of the evaluation.  It was the position of the company that every employee needed improvement; so the best score one could achieve was “good”.

I was truly appalled; as an over-achiever, I deserved to score “excellent” in many of the categories on the evaluation.  There were very few sections where I required “needs improvement”, so I selected “good” on every section.

The plan for improvement proved just as challenging, as I was required to select three areas where I needed to improve; my job was not rocket science, it was accounting.  I had worked at the company for several years and typically finished my job in roughly 18 hours of my 40 hour work-week.  I spent the rest of the week on committees and helping others complete their work; I volunteered to do reports, helped in other departments when I could, anything to help my co-workers.

Imagine my surprise when my supervisor called me in for my review and the one complaint he had for my “needs improvement” was “she takes employee-review1her job too seriously, needs to smile more”.  I walked out of the office shaking my head that day; I worked in the finance department, it was black and white not a lot to laugh about, I did payroll and collections.  Well, I guess he couldn’t say I was “excellent”.

Imagine all of the extra things you do in your daily job that you do as part of your day; how would your company react if you simply followed your job description to the letter?



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