My Arguement 6 12 09
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My Arguement 6 12 09

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MY ARGUMENT AGAINST BAE SAUDI ARABIA.

MY ARGUMENT AGAINST BAE SAUDI ARABIA.

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My Arguement 6 12 09 My Arguement 6 12 09 Document Transcript

  • Neil Doyle O‟Donnell. In early November 1996, I had my contract with British Aerospace Systems Security and Defence terminated after being accused of an assault on another employee in a company-sponsored bar, whilst working in Riyadh, Kingdom Of Saudi Arabia. My belief is that I have been unfairly treated I have had my good name and character criminalized by some elements within British Aerospace management, as well as members of the Military Survey Team in Riyadh. This was after a period of fourteen years of good and loyal service to the Company in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. My contention is that I was Set-up, this is a belief of many ex-work colleagues as well as me, and I totally believe that they or I are not being subjective when stating this belief. One guest who was in the company that evening believed that there was a certain degree of undercurrent directed towards me from one particular individual. In her statement this guest was aware that the individual mentioned seemed to be on a collision course with me and I being totally unaware of the fact. Unfortunately this witnesses exact memory recall was affected by the strength of the Libation, which is sold over the counters in Company sponsored bars in compounds in Riyadh and elsewhere in Kingdom. I myself had overheard a comment directed at me from behind from a group who were strangers to the compound and its bar. It was an uncomplimentary one, which I ignored. Now in hindsight remember that it came from a person who I had been introduced to earlier in the evening. I dismissed this comment as silly and of no consequence as I was used to racist remarks. Being Irish I quietly suffered many similar remarks over a period of twenty-six years, whilst a member of The Royal Air force and British Aerospace: a person tries to ignore the minority of bigots. I now firmly believe that a degree of personal discrimination has been directed against me by management within British Aerospace Headquarters staff at Bilad in Riyadh, and element with in the Military Survey Department Riyadh: as the result of this incident. The evening in question when the incident happened was the last day of October 1996, in the early hours of the 1st. November 1997. I was asked on the afternoon 31st. October,
  • would I attend the club in the Company compound where I resided. I really did not wish to attend but was persuaded to as a good turn out was expected. Bodies were required to make up numbers as a disco was arranged for that evening, nurses would be arriving from the numerous hospitals in Riyadh. I really wasn't interested as I was trying to come to terms with the end of a long-term relationship but promised to look in later in the evening. Earlier in the evening I met up with friends in the married family‟s compound to talk to them about my plans to finally decide to leave Saudi Arabia & BAE. I knew that I would be able to trust these friends so I discussed the reasons for my decision. I had no faith in the Company's confidentiality system gained from experience of others, I was clearly aware that it leaked like the Proverbial Sieve: so needed to talk to people who were completely trust worthy. Having spoken to my friends I arrived at a decision, that the time had come to leave Saudi Arabia as having completed fourteen years of continuous service I believed I really had enough of the place. My final decision I didn't disclose then to them, I also neglected to tell them that I had been invited to a social later in the evening knowing my state of distress this would have been frowned on: they believed I was going straight back to my villa. I arrived at the club in the Company compound at around 22.20hrs. Things were in full swing and I joined some friends at the bar. As the evening proceeded some strangers joined the group I was introduced to them, one of them took offence when I joked “Oh you‟re one of them” innocently meaning HQ, when he introduced himself as employed at Al-Bilad Headquarters as member of the Military Survey Team. This person for some unknown reason seemed have taken a dislike to me for what I had said in jest when introduced earlier. He definitely had an attitude problem and was quite sourly. I have since been informed that he had been asked to leave a party (Bonfire: A Guy Fawkes Night!) in one of the Company's married family‟s villas earlier in the evening because of this negative and sourly attitude. A number of us remained around the bar chatting and drinking locally produced beer and wine, the main body of guests had left as it was well after midnight so only a small group remained. The person who I mentioned earlier was also there it then became clear to me that this person had taken a definite dislike to me shown by his attitude and demeanour. Remembering this was the person who made the remark earlier in the evening directed towards me. I felt under a
  • certain amount of threat from him this feeling of unease was quite alien; one not expected as people tend to mix well in expatriate circles. I believe that this person imported his own personal prejudices into the company that evening. The discussion came around to N. Ireland and the events concerning „Bloody Sunday‟ an incident that happened in Derry/Londonderry (at that time) twenty-five years ago. I had returned recently from Derry after attending the 25 th year anniversary of the original march, which I was a member of in October 1968. Only recently have I been openly going back to Derry whilst on company leave keeping a low profile but some times going to places only a few years ago I would have been putting my life on the line. On one previous leave I was stopped and detained by armed „RUC‟ officers with automatic weapons who detained me for a number of hours: seeming I was mistaken for someone else (informed later from a local source) they were slightly embarrassed when I showed my passport with many years of various stamps and visas, plus an British Embassy insert. When asked a question at the bar about the then situation in the city, I believe myself to hold a somewhat moderate viewpoint in all matters political being very aware of people‟s sensitivities also aware of certain developments at the time. I give a reply, a reasonable one, "that when the truth finally emerged it would defuse the anger felt by a great deal of people at home and maybe the chance for a lasting peace". The person I already mentioned, the one with the attitude problem took exception to this reply and started to verbally attack me. He had been hostile from the time he was invited to join the group at the bar clearly showing it through out this time he was someone clearly bent on causing trouble. He then became agitated again towards me in an aggressive fashion; he insulted me with a racist remark saying "That we didn't kill enough of you Irish Bastards that day”. I was flabbergasted by this personal attack I became justifiably angry over the blatantly racist remark having experienced in February 1972 after the Bloody Sunday incident when as a young airman stationed in England was baited by other Royal Air Force personnel, "On how we taught you Bogsiders a bloody lesson" some thing's and attitudes have not changed much in twenty five years. I had a disagreement with this person for what he had said. There were heated words said, I eventually returned to my accommodation. What I remember clearly was this person was quite pleased with the outcome he seemed content maybe achieving what he had set out to do: at my
  • expense. Due to this incident I was dismissed, the Company refusing to pay me accrued Severance owing for a continuous period of Fourteen Years of good and honourable service in the 'Kingdom of Saudi Arabia'. I have been always been a loyal employee supporting my Line management and Company, and the Customer: 'The Royal Saudi Arabian Air force' plus in the long run The British Government, who are in the end the main benefactor with regards to the Al Yamamha Contract. I have always involved myself in helping and assisting my fellow expatriates, was active in committee work for a number of years have held the posts as the chairman of two of the most successful Company Residents Committees In Kingdom, these positions were voluntary and of a secondary nature. I took my responsibilities seriously following the Company line that the integrity of the compound security and of its personnel and guests was of prime importance. To protect the compounds I enforced a strict admission policy for the many successful functions which where held in these accommodation areas: The Shark Hotel & Izdihar Four Compound in Riyadh. The adherence to a strict admission policy was of serious importance due to the environment where these compounds were situated. This due to the anti- Western stance taken by some local religious authorities. Due to the endeavours of myself and an excellent committee group we never suffered any great problems from the authorities, this was to our credit as we enjoyed as near a Western lifestyle as possible within our accommodation areas during our off work periods. This was also due to good logistics in supplying the demands for vast quantities of certain beverages plus the ability to provide live music and other entertainment: therefore we became popular venues with company staff and the western expatriate community in Riyadh: an outside it. I and my committee would only admit outside guests if they were invited by a resident of the compound and had their names entered into a guest list and if they agreed to a cut off time for admission: 22.00hrs. Most people adhered to the need for such a guest list and a cut off admission point: but every week there were the exceptions. Especially some personnel from Head Quarters Bilad, who would profess their indignation when politely, refused admission to a function after turning up unexpectedly late in the evening with an uninvited entourage in tow. On many occasions I and other committee members would be threatened with various dire consequences by persons purporting to be some one of
  • importance because this person was a manager who held great sway in Bilad Headquarters: their way of dealing with a refusal of admission. I was lucky to have many friends amongst the expatriate medical they warned staff of the local hospitals who always had their ear to the ground regarding the „Riyadh‟ social scene on many occasions that certain elements in British Aerospace Headquarters staff disliked me. This was re-enforced when some nursing colleagues who were girlfriends of headquarters staff constantly berated a personal friend as in the past had been refused entry to various functions in The Shark or Izdihar Four, when were unable to obtain tickets for functions. Basically a gulf existed and still does between British Aerospace Headquarters staff and the employees on the Bases especially Riyadh Base, this believed by many continues right up through management levels as well. I remember asked to have dinner in Izdihars Fours restaurant with some managers one of which was new to the Kingdom and had come over from BAE. Warton on a Company visit. During the conversation being aware that I was from an ex-service background, was surprised by the fact that I came from a Nationalist part of Derry (The Brandywell). He was quite surprised as well as been allowed to be in charge of the resident's committee that I was employed on a military contract in the first place as I came from that particular area of Derry/ Londonderry. This person before joining Aerospace informed me that he had come over from England to attend Magee University College in L/Derry to study. It was disappointing to see that he suffered from an allusion that every catholic from the city was a potential terrorist, (the British press could be quite reactionary in it‟s views when referring to the nationalist community in those days) I found this quite insulting the comment showing the limits of an ability to understand personnel. The main reason I enjoyed my job and position in Saudi Arabia is the friendship and respect I received from my Saudi friends and colleagues, allowing me to believe that the job I was involved in was of importance and I truly believed in my role 'The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia'. For many years I felt a feeling of transience as a member of the armed services: always doing my job to the best of my ability but not really part of it and to an extent not being accepted as part of it. This is around the time I and others became aware of a change of management types and attitudes could clearly foresee the demise of the old ex- services type of manager. They I believe had a better
  • understanding of the on-base workforce due their ability and insight for the wider view of things, unlike the management system imported from Warton in Lancashire who dictated their own particular style of management. BAE‟s refusal to pay severance owing to me is unfair in any moral sense; account must be taken of 'Natural Law' governing any degree of a Balance of Fairness in an individual's contract. What has to be considered is the Company‟s history of inconsistencies with regards to its treatment of others who have been dismissed and others who have not: depending on their positions within the company. Especially the case of a serving Royal Air Force officer a pilot seconded to Aerospace as a flying instructor, who assaulted a manager during a party in a villa in Riyadh by striking the manager for no reason at all in front of a multitude of guests. This serving officer was allowed to remain in Saudi with the company the action taken against him was: a Written Final Warning. This decision believed by all was, if this Royal Air Force Officer were sent back to U/K, he would have been court marshalled. Which would have had a detrimental effect on his career: an exercise in damage limitation I believe? Other well known and talked about incidents concerning assaults which have happened in the workplace, notably in Bilad, British Aerospace‟s Headquarters. These events brushed under the proverbial carpet but the names of individuals concerned are of general knowledge to many personnel. What also beggar‟s belief is how individuals who were implicated in illegal actions such as a telephone billing scam concerning international billing charges were dismissed: all but one I believe received their due severance. It is strongly felt by the workforce that the investigation into this affair became embarrassing that management terminated it by calling an amnesty allowing those concerned to pay back charges owing, others believing that to pursue it any further may have caused a great deal of embarrassment to certain senior individuals. I am being objective in my view for I believe in fairness and justice, raised in the tradition (within my own community) of a belief in fairness, a great emphasis was the respect for a work ethic a norm in my up bringing in my native city of Derry (an area of high unemployment and institutionalised discrimination against we Nationalists). The belief in fairness preached to my contemporaries and me in our schools and
  • churches in what the media describing as the Bogside area of the city. "Not to give what was required in your workplace: a good degree of work input and loyalty to an employer was deemed morally wrong". Taught also that an employer was also morally responsible to a good employee and reciprocate in every: Degree of Fairness. An edict I always believed in one I have followed: as my record with Aerospace must clearly show. The company on the other hand shows itself to be dishonourable and seen to be dishonest in retaining accrued severance which I have worked hard and long for. To be penalised by the Company with such a degree of viciousness is surprising for as a supervisor I believe I give to the Company more than most in my position: my record clearly shows that. My argument is that I have been discriminated against by elements within management of British Aerospace Saudi Arabia. I believe with help a strong argument for this can be put to a others enabling my case new light and therefore projecting it into the open arena: hopefully with help from the media. I have a strong belief that the rights of an individual must be protected especially those who work on overseas contracts for it seems their rights are denied to them. I originally attempted to take my case through the channel of ACAS via an appeal to a tribunal only to be informed that as I was employed to work in Saudi Arabia I had no right to the appeal process in England as I was employed to work outside the United Kingdom. This surprises me as this was a British Government/ Ministry of Defence Sponsored Contract the lack of regard for the rights of so called British Citizens causes concern as I was originally recruited in the United Kingdom in September 1982: under the then: British Aircraft Corporation on a contract construed under English Law. I've since been informed by letter by the DTI London by a Mr. Mitchell that via legal advice I will be able to take a case against the company: this kind advice came about by initially writing to the Prime Minister Blair's Office London. Checked to here so far nod I fully intend to fight my case and show that especially: Mr. Paul Dugan, the K.F.A.A. Business Team Manager did not give due concern to my appeal against dismissal. I believe the appeal was not given its correct consideration due to the fact that his time was taken up by a more political matter, a near riot by the local Saudi populace, because of a bonfire and party in one of the Company Married Compounds which upset local sensitivities. Therefore I believe little time and consideration was given to my appeal. I also appealed to the
  • Managing Director of Systems Security and Defence Mr. Steve Mogford to no avail as the Company sat on the matter for a period of weeks do to this delay, I almost missed the twelve week dead line set by ACAS for appeal to a tribunal. I finally received a reply a negative one, he the M.D. quoting the Company line, supporting his management team‟s decision. The Company arguing that they had a right to the non payment of accrued severance as laid down in the Conditions of Service an escape clause, in some cases used in a discriminatory fashion depending who one is and position held. I believe that I have been punished more than most, the loss of my job, salary and bonuses, as well as loss of position as a supervisor has and therefore of self-esteem, the Company's vindictiveness surprised a great many of the workforce. Changes to the before mentioned Conditions of Service over the years since have be undertaken by Executive Decision Making, under what could be deemed as a form of authoritarian management with a workforce governed under a system of tutelage. The system employing the tools of misinformation and disinformation constantly confusing the ever changing workforce including long time employees such as myself, as we never really knew where one stood with regards to contractual conditions. These changes where promulgated every so often, times there would be a feast then a scarcity of information, as great chunks were quickly withdrawn for cosmetic repairs. Requests form employees employed on air bases for clarification of changes to the Management Manual were always replied to by the statement that a copy was available with Line Management. This easier said than done, as one who worked on an air base: King Fisial Air Academy in Riyadh, information was not readily available, until there would be a crisis. As had happened in one of the technical areas recently where a political dismissal occurred: now a manual is available in that particular work area. The tools for communicating and downloading information to the workforce are readily available when one is employed in a purpose built headquarters, but not for personnel working in a completely different environment: a Royal Saudi Arabian Air force Base. Aerospace tried to implement a British Quality System on the bases but failed, due to the customer‟s satisfaction with the existing American one. The British system easy enough to establish in the cosy confines and environment of their prestigious Head Quarters building but not on the workfare Mr. Paul Dugan the Base Business Manager finally had to
  • inform us at a meeting of supervisors of the customer‟s rejection of the British system. Informing us that it was found to be unsuitable for implementation on an air base work environment, he with tongue in cheek described us as: 'The Men behind the Wire'. Stress which is a hidden problem in the workforce, especially those employed on the air bases, a group of people mostly recruited from the Armed Forces, who would be the last to admit that they may be suffering from the results of stress. The build up of stress manifests itself in the abuse of alcohol, which there is abundance of in different strengths and varieties, readily available in Company Clubs These clubs with their various bars are important to the work force in Saudi Arabia especially the single unaccompanied bachelors, who's main interest is to build up an nest egg. In the hope in allowing them to leave Saudi as soon as possible, so a great deal of leisure time is spent in these areas. Unfortunately, separation from family usually has a detrimental effect on relationships/marriages; there is a high degree of divorce amongst the workforce. Therefore an employee remains in Kingdom to pay for the property settlement that usually follows: adding again to the increase in stress. I like many of my work colleagues, employed on the air bases, have experienced this situation resulting from separation from families and the ensuing trauma of divorce. I have attended counselling since returning from Saudi Arabia, have been told that I have and still am experiencing the typical symptoms of stress: surprise was expressed that it had not been highlighted and acted upon. It is a well-known fact that In-Kingdom Executive Management has no sympathy for anyone who is considers as having a problem: their answer is “if there is a problem get rid of it”. Therefore problems with stress are not recognised as the culture forbids it. As civilian supervisor who was involved in Desert Shield and Desert Storm, awarded The Gulf Medal and Clasp probably having more involvement than most personnel in K.F.A.A. Riyadh, can see how stress and separation brings to the surface the cracks in relationships. This was just as bad for the part of the workforce which was sent home at their own request, during the Gulf Crisis and others who were unable to return to Saudi due to the cessation of air travel to the Middle East. Experiencing through a protracted stay at home, feeling totally out of place due to the effect of de-coupling, a recognised symptom related to separation from family over a long period of time. I add at this point, that at 11.am on the 24th. Of January 1991, the workforce was called to a meeting,
  • held in the K.F.A.A. hanger's crew room. Personnel given the option of either repatriation to U/K or remaining at the work place due to an understandable fear of injury or death from Scud missile attacks on Riyadh at that time. Two other supervisors (J.Grant & Flash Rush) and I were taken to the side by Mr. Paul Dugan then the deputy K.F.A.A. Maintenance Manager before this meeting, we were requested to stay due to a shortage of line management. These managers had to remain at home in U/K unable to return to Kingdom due to the cessation of international air travel to the Middle East at the time of the Gulf Crisis. We agreed to remain for the sake of the contract, as the customer, the Royal Saudi Arabian Air Force mistakenly may have believed that the British Aerospace workforce in K.F.A.A. was about to leave them to their own devices. I agreed to stay as did the other two supervisors as well as forty plus personnel to fulfil the Customers Requirements. Others decided to opt for the cosy option and decided to return to the UK and other places including Israel via another country and awarded on return a medal & clasp for their brave affords in kingdom. The main reason put forward to we three supervisors was that jobs in U/K could very well depend on the good faith been shown to the customers needs, also this may be reflected in the future contracts and sales. I believe that I was fundamental in creating a programme that may have saved at least one KC135 Aircraft if not others belonging to the United States Air force. These aircraft were of great importance during and after the Gulf War 1: used in refuelling tasks supplying in-flight aircraft with fuel. A serious problem existed (Vicious Cycling or Thermal Runaway of the Aircraft's On-Board Ni Cad. Battery systems) that could have caused a catastrophic condition in a worst- case scenario: if an aircraft had crashed in any of the populated areas surrounding the base at KFAA. This threat measured by a response from an American at RSAAF HQ, finally grasping the seriousness of the situation contacted me on a number of occasions introducing himself as understanding the need to take assertive action to push for the correction to the numerous fault conditions in case of potential worst-case scenario situation occurring. My belief is if I had not acted (supported by my Senior Training and Maintenance Manager at the time), that there were a number of serious problems with the USAF KC135's and other aircraft‟s Ni-Cad. Battery charging systems, a situation may have arisen that would have put Saudi /USA relations beyond
  • repair if a serious air incident had happened over the city: (A Pre.9/11. Situation) The U.S. Forces at the time unable to comprehend the danger of a major incident over Saudi Arabian territory: cities and towns that could have led to such a situation: A Total Catastrophe. We were told not to allow the customer any information on what we were doing: a little difficult if you have Saudi Nationals working for you and surrounded in the workplace by Royal Saudi Arabian Air force personnel. I was awarded a number of good shows for my endeavours as well as recognition in the form of a company video for my involvement. A copy of this can be viewed as part of this web page to explain the extent of my endeavours in always involving myself in the company's interests, needs and requirements. I had to push the issue to have the job completed: asking staff to go for that extra afford to complete an ever increasing work load; this significantly increased by the numerous problems to the USAF aircraft battery problems. An issue I did push was with a similar fault condition on newly arrived Pilatus PC9 Aircraft, which superseded the old trainer aircraft we had at KFA.A. Pilots experienced problems during flight and had to return to base due to overheating battery conditions. At least one situation was quite serious resulting in a „Board of Inquiry‟ involving senior „Royal Saudi Arabian Air Force‟ officers: representing the customer. Of course this was the talk amongst the BAE staff on base and compound bars. Blame was automatically pointed at my bay personnel and me by other sections of „The Avionics Flight‟, this I knew to be wrong and unfair as my bay staff produced work of an excellent quality: as was their norm. I investigated the situation and created a report that was accepted by the „Board of Inquiry‟ who fully supported my finding as did BAE Head Quarters Bilad (Engineering). It transpired that during the Commissioning of the PC9 that the Air Electrical Section (Part of The Avionics Flight) failed to adjust the on- board voltage control requirements to suit the high ambient temperature levels experienced in the 'Hot Climate' conditions experienced in Middle East. My then Senior Maintenance Manager: Mr. Fred Collins congratulated me nothing more was said as things were laid to rest, to avoid embarrassment to others who jumped the gun in the 'Blame Game'. Trying to settle back into a normal life away from the Middle East is difficult, it presents its own problems and trauma's. Especially if a person is in danger of losing his home, due to a
  • reliance on a hoped for severance. The myth of big money in Saudi Arabia is incorrect for as a family man and divorced who supported his children through their teens as a distant single parent, it is quite financially demanding. Fine if one enjoys the huge salaries that say pilots earn: may I add deservedly so. The main recipients of huge benefits from contracts such as the Al-Yamaha today are the main players in the system: BAE. Executive Management. I have tried to find employment in main land U/K; I even attempted to settle in my native city of Derry knowing that it would be difficult. I will not easily be forgiven for having joined the services in 1969: I am „Beyond the Pale‟ in some minds, even changes to an accent after years away can lead to difficulties therefore the need for long drawn out explanations. In a place such as Derry depending on the where you are and who you meet, a person such as myself will always be looked on as an ex-member of the „Crown Forces‟: even though I never served in N. Ireland or would have done as I was classed as „Current Condition Nil‟. It was clear to me that this was an unsuitable attempt at settling there at that period of time as it put great stress on my family due to the fact that it was never mentioned to others outside the family that I and my brother had been members of the Royal Air force: I later employed by British Aerospace Saudi Arabia on a military contract. In company it is extremely difficult to hide your last twenty-nine years of past life unless one is an accomplished liar. I must add at this point I have returned to live and work in the UK (January 2005) after working in the Republic of Ireland for a number of years after my time in the Middle East. It is from here in the U.K. with the help I will endeavour to claim right to my due „Severance Pay‟ for a period of 14 years of honourable employment.  I intent to write to the 'Company's' main office in London.  The Prime Minister's Office.  The First Minister and First Deputy Minister of the Northern Ireland Exec.  The Ministry of Defence.  His Majesty King Abdullah of Saudi Arabia.  The United States Ambassador to the United Kingdom.  The European Commission.  Al-Jazerra news.co/english
  • As a closing note it is only recently I have been able to put together in writing my side of the story of this particular time in Riyadh. I can now clearly see this was a period when I experienced a type of house arrest (Passport withheld and Saudi ID Agama taken off me) isolated, unable to think clearly. I was unable to comprehend my situation therefore could not to form an adequate defence; this was accommodating to the BAE Managing Team. Sincerely Neil O‟Donnell. Nottingham, England. netnoddy@netscape.net