At the beginning of May, we were alerted by some of our field rep (SCY) members about changes in the calculation of their allowances, in particular the Cost Of Living Allowance (COLA) and utilities (electricity, gas, . ..).
For some of them, these changes will result in a reduction in their allocations (on average €3,000 per year).
We regret that we were not consulted regarding these changes. It would have been wise to put the subject on the table in order to inform us but also and above all to discuss solutions so that the impact is controlled.
Apart from the delay in the entry into force of the new measures (January 2023 for the utilities and January 2024 for the COLA while they could have been applied now), decision that we approve, for the rest we are told: « It’s like that, it’s the service provider (Mercer) who changes his calculation formulas, there is nothing we can do about it ».
That may be so, but we believe solutions could have been discussed to compensate for the losses induced by these changes.
For example, we could have decided to maintain the utilities allowance on a living area of 100 m2 for everyone, as is the case today. Just because Mercer is now introducing 3 dwelling sizes (75 / 100 / 125 m2) doesn’t mean we have to pass them on.
Then, field rep allowances are calculated on the basis of a reference salary which is the bottom of the salary scale. To limit the impact of future changes, we could decide to index the allowances on the real salary of the field rep, and no longer on the reference salary which is lower.
Finally, while it was proposed to the field reps to freeze their allowances at the current level for the next 5 years, we obtained that this bizarre idea be abandoned. Indeed, in such a changing context, how to bet on such a long term? If living standards and inflation explode, field reps who would have chosen to freeze their allowances at the 2022 level would have been severely affected.
Field reps are a major asset for Airbus, everyone should remember that. Their daily presence with our customers (proximity support), their technical knowledge allowing them to filter a large number of questions and thus not drown Customer Support Engineering, but also their detailed knowledge of the needs of our customers, make them key actors of Customer Support and Services.
Their profession must remain attractive, and it is a mistake to constantly drag down their working conditions. They are now less than 100, so the effort is really not insurmountable in view of the benefits they bring to our business.
So field rep… Cost or wealth for Airbus? The famous image of the half-full, half-empty glass…