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BALPA survey: listen and lead

by Brian Strutton BALPA General Secretary

BALPA conducts a biennial membership survey to ensure we’ve got a grasp on how our members are feeling – what they think we’re doing right and what they think we should improve upon. We run the survey with ComRes, a specialist polling company, which ensures the survey is carried out professionally and without bias, and from a representative sample of our membership. Our recent survey has brought many interesting results, which will help us form our goals over the next two years. Here is just a snapshot of some of what you’ve told us.

How you feel about BALPA overall

The latest survey tells us that 64% of members feel positively towards BALPA (2015: 63%) and the reasons for this include the feeling that we look after your interests, get results and provide good communication. We’re also encouraged to see that 74% of members feel their BALPA membership represents good value. These are very positive results. However, they tell us that there is always work to be done to make sure we’re delivering for our members.

We also felt it was important to see if we’re getting the balance right in our two main streams of functions: trade union and professional association. BALPA is proudly both a trade union and a professional association. This means not only can we negotiate for your terms and conditions on your behalf, but we also do a lot of work in the flight safety arena. We asked on a scale of one to ten, one being more like a trade union and ten being more like a professional association, where you think BALPA sits. The average response was 5.89. When we asked where you would like us to sit, you told us an average of 5.43. This tells us we’re getting the balance about right, but you’d like us to shift every-so-slightly more towards industrially-focussed work, which is exactly where your National Executive Council (NEC) is taking action.

What you want to see from BALPA

We also ask a range of questions on what issues are most important to you and what you’d like BALPA to spend more time addressing. In-flight safety matters, fatigue naturally continues to be the most important issue to you, with 84% telling us that it is very important that BALPA focuses on this in the next 12 months. When it comes to pay and lifestyle, you told us that rostering and pensions are your key interests, with 69% and 67% of you respectively saying these should be BALPA’s focus over the next year. You also told us that when it comes to keeping you up-to-date with the latest news, you’d like to see more face-to-face communication, with 37% saying there is currently too little. However, 88% of you feel we’re getting the balance about right when it comes to emails. Overall, nine in ten members feel well-informed about what BALPA is doing – a figure we’re very pleased with. Hearing from you what you feel needs to be improved is invaluable information – so over the next few years we’ll be aligning our focus with your needs and investing more work into rostering and pensions, as well as continuing our focus on fatigue.

How you feel about your job

Pride in being a pilot remains high at 98% but only 68% of you would recommend it as a career (although this is a slight improvement on the 2015 figure: 61%). At least four in five of you believe your job and/or company is secure, and 69% of you feel respected by your employer. While 92% of pilots feel they aren’t encouraged to report fatigue, only 15% wouldn’t feel comfortable reporting fatigued if they felt unfit to fly.

What happens now?

The ComRes survey is an extremely useful tool to help us formulate our focusses over the following two years. The NEC has the results and is now going to use these to support BALPA’s work going forward. Keep an eye out for more information in the coming months.