Commonwealth Soldiers in British Army Form Trade Union

Discussion in 'Current Affairs, News and Analysis' started by MightyBigEgo, Mar 7, 2007.

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  1. Commonwealth soldiers form union

    Some 6,000 soldiers are from Commonwealth countries
    Soldiers from the Commonwealth serving in the British army are so dissatisfied with their treatment they are to form a trade union, the BBC has learned.
    The move comes amid complaints of widespread racism, unfair treatment and a lack of welfare support.

    The union, while powerless to strike or negotiate, will give advice to members.

    The Ministry of Defence said there was no evidence of endemic racism in the army and special provision was offered to the 6,000 Commonwealth soldiers.

    Marlon Clancy, who is setting up the British Commonwealth Soldiers Union, said one issue was preferential treatment.

    "In some units, the white soldiers will be given priority for courses over the black soldiers, and the black soldier - no matter how long he's been in, if he has been in four years longer than the white soldier - he will be put behind the white soldier," he told the BBC.

    Recent years have seen the number of servicemen and women from Commonwealth countries swell as the MoD struggles to recruit people born in the UK.

    In 2000, there were just 435 from the Commonwealth but that figure has since risen to 6,000 - the bulk of whom are from Fiji.

    One step closer to a British Armed Forces Federation?
  2. Or one step backwards from integration?
  3. Are they aluding to BAFF and in true media style never letting the truth stand in the way of a good story?

    The media are really poor again. I'm not denying that racism does exist, but the Armed Forces do more towards equality and diversity than any civilian company or agency.

    Could this not be considered libelous? Its a bloody shame that the MOD doesn't do more to embarress the media when it does such obtuse reporting.
  4. This is not connected to BAFF - it is called a union, and is only for Commonwealth soldiers - so, no discrimination there, then. According to Radio 4, it has been set up to combat er, discrimination...
  5. Cheers V-B

    I was under the impression that a member of HM Forces could not join a trade union regardless of its agenda and policies.

    Its hardly discriminatory when it applies to ALL serving members.
  6. Alas, not much time to dip into ARRSE at present but this is very interesting!

    The issue is similar to the gay and lesbian issue - HMG will not challenge representation of a minority group, particularly where there is anti-discrimination legislation. This union (which does not actually appear to be a union) will not be opposed.

    I would say that the Armed Forces are far more integrated and equal than any other major employer. However, Foreign and Commonwealth soldiers are discriminated against in a manner that visible ethnic minority UK soldiers are not. For example, Gurkhas do not get paid the full pension - a disgraceful situation. There will be other examples of discrimination, and why should F&C soldiers not be able to retire into UK civilian life after serving this country, with all the rights of UK-born soldiers?

    I hope that BAFF can have a dialogue with this union and offer support, guidance and possible co-operation in the most appropriate fashion without prejudice to BAFF's own existence or work.
  7. I must admit Radio 4 ran this as their headline this morning and hence there was a far amount of waling and grinding of teeth from this call sign.

    I must admit the only info about it seems to be on the BBC Web site but I feel 'the Union' are missing the point with their motive and methods. Something along the lines of the Black Police Association would have been far better.

    Black Police Association
  8. Just to add something from BAFF's experience.

    We looked very closely at various forms of responsible representative organisation at home and abroad. Naturally the Police Federation(s) were prime examples (but with the significant difference that they are statutory and "universal" organisations).

    We spoke to a number of rank and file police officers - in fact we had one in the Steering Group, ex-Army and now a very operational police officer.

    We heard the view a number of times that the Black Police Association had a tendency to dilute the impact of the Federation in the media and Government.

  9. [originally posted in another thread]

    General Viggers' interview on this morning's 'Today' programme was excellent.

    Earlier in the piece, it was put to the guy proposing this Commonwealth Soldiers Union "Surely that is what the new British Armed Forces Federation is for", and he said that he had never heard of it.

    That is certainly a challenge and a criticism for BAFF, but it goes further than that:

    Regretfully I have to reveal that their MOD-PR masters banned Soldier magazine from any editorial coverage of BAFF "for the time being". We do have a small ad in that fine magazine, but even that had to be painfully negotiated and vetted by Main Building. We have kept this information to ourselves until now, but MOD PR's intervention has unfortunately now backfired on the Army.

    By contrast, BAFF has regularly featured on BFBS.

    D.Y. (Chairman, BAFF)

    PS. Have literally just seen that coincidentally, the hot-off-the-press edition of 'Soldier' has a brief mention of BAFF. Will revisit when time permits. D.Y.
  10. Sorry, just watched BBC News at 1. A solicitor spoke about how the Army denied the basic rights of commonwealth soldiers, denied them promotion chances and treated them like second class citizens. How can he say libellous things like that? Where is his evidence? If there is a case to answer, then let it be heard. MOD should be getting much more aggressive with accusations like this. Put up or shut up.

    We're all trying hard to ensure that all soldiers get equitable and fair treatment, irrespective of background, race, religion, etc.
  11. "In some units, the white soldiers will be given priority for courses over the black soldiers, and the black soldier - no matter how long he's been in, if he has been in four years longer than the white soldier - he will be put behind the white soldier," he (Marlon Clancy) told the BBC.

    I was bloody angry when I read the above. I instruct soldiers in one of the most technically demanding trades in the RE. For the last couple of years our courses have been full of Commonwealth (black & white) soldiers from across the world. With few exceptions they have all done extremely well. Why did we load so many? They were all academically outstanding, hardworking and wiped the floor with their UK educated counterparts competing for the same course places. On our last assessment course a UK educated soldier with a GCSE Grade C in Maths confessed that he could not even add or subtract without a calculator!

    If anyone is being disadvantaged here, it's our UK educated soldiers who have been failed by a state education system that, in current political speak, is "institutionally not fit for purpose".
  12. There have been many decrying the actions of these men. Can those of You who still serve or are close to the army confirm - absolutely - that Commonwealth soldiers have nothing to fear from serving in HM Forces.

    If this is so, why did this soldier make such an extraordinary decision?
  13. First steps towards multi thousand-pound claims of racism by disgruntled commonwealth soldiers who have not got what they wanted because they were black and not because they where not good enough.
    As for the suggesetion by Modfather of something along the lines of the 'Black Police Association' is totally wrong-Army would end up with same probs as Met Police,whinging ethnics at every corner.So called union should be sat on and finished before it begins.
  14. It sounds just like the kind of comment a very disgruntled bod would say. I've heard the same from many other voices (all white) over the years. The thing about the army is that whilst there is racism present amongst certain elements (there is far, far more out here in civ-div than in the forces) it is often the individual who thinks that they are a 'special' case who pulls the racism card, if they were white they would claim bullying is holding them back.
  15. Once you go down the road of this and that organisation or group then the entity is destroyed.

    The Met is the perfect example of how NOT to do things.

    If the Army goes down this route then stand by for a gay/lesbian association, then no doubt Brit born black/Asian groups as they all see a way to either make money or jump the queue in the promotion stakes.

    It will all end in tears............