US labor-management poor relations may weaken SMS
Large EU union complains to EASA about German CAA
Trust key element in SMS collaboration
Aircraft Engineers International Calls on EU Commission and EASA to Tighten Aircraft Safety Oversight
The US is reducing its insularity as the global economy is more important to us, its myopia as to world developments is unfortunate. For example, one would assume that the airline-labor relations are the worst. The above headline suggests that Europe may also suffer from this problem.
It has been noted that it is quite possible that the friction between management and the unions may have reduced the potential for Safety Management Systems. The self-reporting functions (ASRS, VDRP, ASIAS, CAST) depend on trust of workers and their bosses to contribute to and participate in these processed. When labor has withdrawn its confidence and may choose to submit its complaints to the media, the system suffers. When management initiates lawsuit to compel the employees to meet productivity goals, the atmosphere becomes more hostile.
Here are some examples:
- Airline Safety should not be the subject of Litigation and Pointed Press Releases; management and the union have got to get their act together
- SMS, not PR wars, is the best way to assure that Allegiant is flying safely
- Diagnosis of FAA SMS process should identify what is needed to help SWA-AMFA problems
- American’s Safety Culture may not be working in Chicago
- Union calls for FAA safety umpires on AA shop floors is completely out of touch with SMS
These confrontations are between the unions and the airlines. In Europe, the conflict is between a large trade group, Airline Engineers International (AEI) and the German CAA (Luftfahrt-Bundesamt (Federal Aviation Office) (LBA) and the complaint has been submitted to the European Aviation Safety Administration (EASA). The union is alleging to the Pan-Europe aviation authority that the German CAA is inadequate in performing its duties!!!!
- In 2015, AEI informed EASA that it believed aircraft were being routinely released to service in Germany without undergoing the requisite inspections.
- An EASA audit which followed of the national civil aviation authority of Germany, the Luftfahrt Bundesamt (LBA), confirmed this, highlighting concerns with the Certificate of Release to Service (CRS). The auditors concluded that “Release to Service (CRS), is not compliant and is unclear; it e.g. allows the release to service of line maintenance tasks without verification (by a properly qualified and rated Certifying Staff) but based on an administrative check only”.
- AEI has repeatedly informed both EASA and the EU that it feels there are weaknesses in the LBA’s oversight system and this situation, should it be allowed to continue, places EU citizens at unnecessary risk.
- Head of EASA Patrick Ky stated during a Norwegian conference (30thJanuary 2019) that EASA’s safety standards were not uniformly interpreted in Europe.
“How did EASA manage to close the audit findings?” questions AEI President Ola Blomqvist. “It is not possible to be compliant with EU regulations without strictly adhering to the EASA regulation and their own clarifying policy on release to service, which Germany refuses to implement.”
Aircraft Engineers International calls on EASA to ensure that its own rules are strictly enforced, that all audit reports are dealt with promptly, and that “release to service” verification requirements are uniformly understood throughout Europe.
SMS involves collaboration among the unions, management and the CAA. The resolution of how best to design a solution to a risk being addressed involves a multi-iterative process. At each step, all of the participants must exercise jointly held judgments. If AEI does not trust LBA, SMS cannot be working in Germany.
Yes, the US level of SMS achievement must be limited by the distrust on two sides on the triangle. The AEI-LBA-management process is likely not to be working!!!
 Since 1971 AEI has represented Aviation Engineers, Mechanics, and Technicians from all over the world, and indeed for all Certifying Aircraft Maintenance staff, whether working in Shops, Hangers, Platform Oil Rigs, Dirt strips etc. to protect Aviation Safety, Our profession, Our Status, Our training and Education standards, Our Salaries and other benefits.
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