Casual Labour...

Discussion in 'Army Reserve' started by gingwarr, May 9, 2006.

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  1. As any fule kno, reservists across the three services are not classed as part time workers, we're classed as casual labour. I've had a few thoughts about this in the past, and having looked at the "Mobilisation" and the "Employers" threads, and seeing the collective HR/Management types chatting away nicely, I thought this was the time to discuss them.

    1) Discipline.

    In the real world, you don't really bother disciplining casual labour. You sack them and hire new ones.

    But how does this apply to us. I hear you cry? Well, with AGAI 67, a commander can fine his subordinates, or give them extra work periods.

    Great for the regulars, unworkable for the TA, RNR, et al. How can you fine someone who has no fixed income stream? How can you force casual labour to come to work? If they turn around and say "can't attend that punishment sir, I'm working/looking after the sprogs/chucking one up the Missus", there's not a hell of a lot that can be done about it. I know this is something that doesn't happen often, but given a bad soldier and a poor officer, there's potential for it.

    2) Mobilisation.

    When the great and glorious government declared us to be casual labour under European law, did this not create an avenue for appeal? After all, I would have thought that the fact that the employee was hired "on a casual basis", meant that the work was voluntary on both parts. You don't have a job to lose, so don't rock up if you don't feel like it.

    Again, not something likely to come up often, especially now the MOD is using "intelligent mobilisation" to decide who goes and who doesn't, but something to think about.
  2. The problem here is that you're applying common sense to the situation.

    Of course it would make more sense if reservists were part-time employees; a whole host of potentially unhelpful issues would be opvercome in an instant. Importantly though, it would cost a little bit of money, and that is clearly less acceptable than having a more sensible set up with regard to the utilisation of reservists. I don't have the book to hand, but there's a passage in Lewis Page's Lions, Donkeys and Dinosaurs, which assesses the actual cost of increasing soldiers' income by a factor of 100%, in order to overcome the recruiting 'crisis' - costings significantly less than the quarter of a Bn quid spent on unflyable Chinook Mk 3s (or the 50% on top which it would cost to fix them) - God alone knows how much is being spent on Eurofighters which will never, ever get out of mothballs...
  3. On a recent seminar this question came up and as part of the reply three things of interest came up:

    1. To pay for it something would have to go (i.e. your Bounty).
    2. Even if you were classed as part-time you would still have to do (i.e. attend) 2 years (730 working days) to start the pension clock ticking.
    3. Most TA soldiers leave at the 3 year point.

    If I want to top my pension up I can use part of my Bounty to do so. So can all of you.
  4. Chap I knew once got put on a 6 month warning - so he didn't attend any TA training for the next half year or so. So I suppose it worked (kept a clean sheet for six months) but I suspect not as was intended. Anyone who really doesn't want to be mobilised just has to smoke a few joints before Chilwell and the CDT on entry or biff all the MATTs - the point I suppose is that "Volunteer" more than any other word defines why the TA soldier does what he or she does. Sanctions are largely irrelevant, what matters is what they get out of it.

    The arguments over extra cost are irrelevant - the key question is can we retain and recruit enough soldiers ? If we can then there's no need to change. If we can't, then we have to accept that we can spend more money or accept permanently understrength TA units. My mobs supposed to be expanding (cue hollow laugh). I foresee a revised org chart, some new regular posts and the same old faces.
  5. Fair enough - but arguably the fact that many TA soldiers go after 3 years is the fat end of the recruiting and retention problem. Given a pension and the rights which fail to acrue to a 'casual worker', that might not be the considerable drama which it currently is.

    I'm in my 16th bounty year now, and given that I rarely drop below the 90 day mark, I'm fairly much at the 5 years of full time service mark (not taking into consideration that, despite being paid for it, my regular couterpart isn't actually working 365 days pa - even taking the weekends out you're down to 261 pa - not far more than twice my casual year in uniform). I'd be more than happy with one third of a regular pension at the end of my service - if I go until I run out at 60, that's be 42 years and 14 years worth of regular pension. Worth swapping a bounty for, probably, especially bearing in mind that the 'leavers at the three year mark' about whom you are talking don't get anything like so much in the way of Bounty anyway.

    No doubt it'll get implemented, the day after I'm 60 and be backdated to the start of service for all those still serving...'.
  6. Why?

    Is it because by saying this a civil servant can effectively close down the argument?

    The amounts of money involved are so miniscule (as you say, most people leave by year three) that that argument holds no water at all.

    Even if the extra rights meant that people stayed on an extra year or 18 months on average it would boost unit strengths considerably around the country.
  7. Err don't the actual rates of pay take into acount the pension. In other words we've had a reduced rate of pay to cover the pension yet not recieved a pension?

    Pensions aside, I'd be happier if we were classed as part-time and had access to some of the benefits of service like forces rail-cards, dental care etc.
  8. You are totally missing the point. The whole idea is that you AREN'T entitled to the housing (well, obviously), pension, dental care, travel, etc etc. That's the beauty of the TA as far as the Government is concerned. They can keep you on the books at minimum cost, call you up for little trips abroad and then dump you back where you came from. Someone else can pay for you between trips, and all the tiresome and costly social / welfare aspects are down to you. Think of it like outsourcing. Instead of India or even just Sodexho, it's been outsourced to YOU!

    The neatness and sense of this must be admired.
  9. Clownbasher summed it up pretty well!

    The fact is that the TA is currently an inexpensive (I won't say cheap, 'cos we're not) option. NAO came up with the fraction of 1/7th the cost of a regular soldier. Given that the Treasury (and ultimately the taxpayer) aren't giong to pony up extra money for no extra benefit (to them) then something has to go to pay for the pension, and quite frankly it would be the bounty. The bounty is, to my mind, one of the single biggest retention tools the TA has. Most people who leave at the 3 year point wouldn't give a stuff about a pension; they're young and it's a long way off.

    EDIT to add: Just so you know; I agree that our pay. based on regular X-factor - Y% is a bit naughty vis-a-vis the fact that the Regular pay is 'abated' by their pension contribution. It's a fact however that we are as we are, and a pension would require significant extra money from somewhere and does anyone here think the Treasury is going to go "oh, go on then, just don't tell anyone".
  10. No I am not missing the point, that was the basis of my statement if you read it properly. As I said, I'd be happier IF we were classed as Part time and got all the benefits. I thought that would indicate that I was aware we were not entitiled to them.

    As for the bounty why would it have to go? Maybe someone can explain where it comes from and when and why it was introduced?

    If we assume that 1/3rd of the 38000 TA get a bounty and even if all (thats a big all!) get the £1500 it comes to £19M (given most leave at 3 years £800 it probably costs less) 40% of a Eurofighter. How much do we spend on recruiting and retention advertising? How many chairs did the MoD buy at £1500 each?
  11. I was joking.

    Cheaper to spend good money on good office chairs than to have a load of public sector malingerers off sick BTW!
  12. Whitehorse, where did you get the figure of 38000 TA soldiers. I think you will find firstly, that in most units, around half qualify for their bounty, the rest being unable to breath long enough to take the tests, or have left but MTDs come in handy, and also, I think you wil find almost all units are way below strength. My unit if 50% recruited and 2 Sigbde has (on paper) 1900 soldiers. How many regiments and squadrons ???????, it makes the regiments about 150 - 200strong at the absolute maximum.

    Therefore I would suggest that the real strenght of the TA is way less than 30,000, and I believe that around half will get the bounty, give or take a few.
  13. This Government has a mindset of volunteers in all public services, I think this year is even classed as the year of the volunteer (or was it last year) Any who, with the encouragement of volunteers across the puplic sector the government is saving money. Police comunity safety officers is a good one employ people at cheaper rates to "police" the streets armed with just a radio to call for help when required was the initial concept now their powers are being increased, with powers of arrest being not to far away. Just an example.

    Now TA, all volunteers getting paid for the time they do and "intelengently" mobalised to back fill regular regiments - hence cheap casual labour. All recruiting ads recently have been concentrating on TA- Liabour doesn't seem too concerned about recruiting full time regulars when part time will do nicely cheaper in the long term
  14. I haven't laughed so much since grandma died and Aunt Mabel caught her left tit in the mangle.

    Fact is Clownbasher and Bushrider are on the money. The government (not just this bunch, any of them) really do operate a 'Just enough, just in time' policy when it comes to defence. If they give us 'just enough' pay and benefits to retain 'just enough' TA soldiers to support ongoing ops. If they really wanted a fully recruited TA trained to role then there are any number of ways they could incentivise this. Don't forget that the new SoS for Defence is a treasury man who couldn't tell one end of a LAW from the other (then again, could I?)

    Yes Whitehorse I'm sure you would be happier if we were classed as Part time and got all the benefits. However we're not and you're still here. Thus proving that the government have done 'just enough' to retain you.

    Bugger - I think I've just argued my way out of a TA pension!
  15. Yes the contrast with professional politicians Ts&Cs is quite stark.... :wink: