@AirCanada receives #FIMAirlineOfChoice Award – Press Release

On 11 May 2017, the International Federation of Musicians (FIM), which represents professional musicians and their trade unions in more than 60 countries, awarded the newly created FIM Airline of Choice award to Air Canada. The ceremony took place during the opening evening of the 4th FIM International Orchestra Conference hosted by the Quebec Musicians Guild (local 406 of the AFM).

FIM President John Smith, Senior Vice Presdient Air Canada Craig Landry, FIM Vice-President Deborah Cheyne

FIM and its member unions have been campaigning for several years with the aim of improving airlines’ policies so that musicians traveling with their instrument are treated fairly and are fully informed about regulations governing the transportation of musical instruments. The international jury set-up by FIM established that the Canadian company was clearly ahead of its competitors in this respect.

According to Benoît Machuel, FIM General Secretary, “Air Canada goes clearly beyond the requirements of the FAA regulation in the US – which today is the benchmark – by offering a 50% discount on a second seat for an instrument when necessary, as well as giving priority boarding to musicians and their instruments. Air Canada’s policy towards musicians is in our view exemplary.”

The FIM President, John Smith, declared: “It is satisfying to see that the air transport sector is gradually adapting itself to musicians’ needs. Unfortunately, too many companies still have unthought out policies that are often applied in an erratic and unpredictable manner. This is incompatible with a profession that, by its very nature, involves frequent travelling.”

“The Canadian Federation of Musicians has been working with our airlines for some time”, said AFM Vice President from Canada Alan Willaert. ‘We are very pleased that Air Canada listened, and have taken steps to greatly enhance the travel experience for musicians and their very valuable tools of trade.”

“For over 35 years Air Canada has been a long-time supporter of orchestral music in Canada. As official airline of eight major symphony orchestras in Canada from coast to coast, we have proudly flown them and their talented musicians around the world from China to Europe and the U.S. on many tours and to world famous concert halls including Carnegie Hall,” said Craig Landry, Senior Vice President, Revenue Optimization at Air Canada. “Our dedication to orchestras and music extends much further than being Official airline of these outstanding organizations. In 2015 we implemented industry leading enhancements designed to support the specific needs of all musicians travelling with carry-on instruments, including pre-boarding benefits and a generous discount when purchasing an additional seat for their instrument.”

The FIM Airline of Choice award 2017 was received on behalf of Air Canada by Senior Vice President Mr Craig Landry, in the presence of 200 international FIM delegates.

Information

Benoît Machuel, FIM General Secretary

Mobile: +33 660 625 494

office@fim-musicians.org

https://www.fim-musicians.org/

 

Help sacked MPO players to fight their case at court!

A Malaysian court has tweaked the law to deny basic rights to seven foreign players who were summarily dismissed by the Malaysian Philharmonic, as reported earlier. The orchestra remains under an international musicians boycott.

This appeal comes from one of the disenfranchised seven. Please support this appeal if you can and forward this message.

“I am one of the seven musicians fired three years ago by the Malaysian Philharmonic. After an interminably long wait, the judge has finally delivered her verdict: despite our many years of dedicated work with the orchestra, including long service bonuses and contractual retirement clauses, and despite our unblemished employment records, we were all in fact fixed-term, temporary employees, and had no right to expect continued employment. She decided that the Malaysian Philharmonic Orchestra had every right to terminate our employment at the end of our current contracts, without giving any notice or reason.

From all the legal advice we have since received, and the case readings we have done, this decision goes completely against the Malaysian Industrial Relations Act, and against just about every precedent that has been set by previous cases. If allowed to stand unchallenged, it will affect every current and future employee of the Malaysian Philharmonic, and seems to give Malaysian employers the right to terminate any employee at will as long as they have implied their “intention” to use a fixed-term contract. Up until this case, under Malaysian law, the burden of proof was always on the employer to establish that the recourse to the fixed-term engagement of the workers was genuinely related to their establishment or undertaking. That appears to be the case no longer.

We believe that an injustice has been done, and are determined to exhaust all of our options to make it right. The legal fees involved are substantial, however, and all of us have had our future earning potential severely affected by our dismissals. To that end, we have established a fundraising campaign to help our supporters contribute, and would like to invite your readers to participate.

Donations can be made anonymously, and we pledge to be completely transparent with the use of those funds, and with our progress. Everything we receive will go to our legal fund, and at the end of the case, if we win a monetary award, we will either return your donation to you in full (if you wish), or make a lump sum donation of the full amount collected to a worthy youth orchestra.”

To support, please visit: www.gofundme.com/MPO7LegalFund

How ‘off’ is time off? Musicians creativity beyond the collective

The daily routine of an orchestra musician tends to be both crammed and regimented – yet even so, many are still preoccupied with music after work. You may ask whether this fascination is purely enthusiasm, or whether it reflects a creative deficit in the workaday experience – a deficit that many musicians try to balance by doing ‘their own thing’ during their time off.

Off time engagement: orchestra musician conducts brass band

Off time engagement: orchestra musician conducts brass band

Such activities can be directly music-related, e.g. playing in a chamber orchestra. But the links may also be more lateral, as other examples illustrate, such as music education and outreach, or even political activities to combat cuts to cultural budgets. Sometimes these extra efforts are appreciated by colleagues, sometimes they are regarded more as a private diversion. Professional input is also crucial for many amateur ensembles (of which there are thousands in many countries). Whether a school orchestra or a small local symphonic ensemble it is rarely the remuneration (if any) that motivates professional musicians, but the pleasure of making music, motivating others and doing something beyond the confines of a professional orchestra. Music education and outreach are perhaps among the most important ‘off time’ engagements that musicians can take on.

Of course there are political and civil aspects of ‘off time’ musical engagement: this can take many forms – from promoting a particular instrument (as done by the Confédération Internationale des Accordionists, which organized a 24-hour internet broadcast of accordion pieces) to fundraising for charitable causes to political protest.

What is the main task for the orchestra management in this context? How is it possible to create an atmosphere in which musicians can develop their artistic skills for themselves as well as for the whole orchestra organization? Peaceful cooperation and communication between management and musicians creates an atmoshpere of understanding and trust. This is the most healthy environment for future success. The orchestra should support musicians off time activities, because they will benefit the organization, too.

Orchestra management is a great issue!

Dear colleagues worldwide: We all love to work in the orchestra field. It’s a thrilling expierience to sit in the concert hall or an opera house, to hear an orchestra, ensemble and soloists performing great materpieces of music under the baton of a congenius maestro. And it’s a great feeling too, when you hear the applauding and cheering audience. When you know that the musicians and the management have done a good job.
But doing a good job means to run your business on a highly developed professional level. And there are so many issues and challenges we face worldwide. The most important are 1. developing our audiences, 2. showing people that we are relevant to them and their lifes and 3. balancing our budgets.
Let’s share expieriences,views and challenges on these and other interesting issues!