Is it time for the military to be unionised?

Discussion in 'Current Affairs, News and Analysis' started by enraged, Aug 20, 2010.

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  1. In the coming weeks and months, the remuneration package for those of us who serve will change for the worse. A 2 year pay freeze (regardless of the £250 p.a for the lowest paid) - without any comment on whether our charges will continue to rise at extortionate rates - a "significant" reduction in LOA for those serving overseas, even though the cost of living is rising disproportionately due to the 33% drop in the strength of the pound in the last 10 years. Worse to come will be the forced changes on our Terms and Conditions of Service with regards our pension. The overall net effect will be a significant and real term reduction in our income, coupled with an ever increasing workload as those of use who remain in cover the duties of those military (and civilians) who are encouraged to go through natural wastage - thus saving significant money by negating the need for redundancies.

    In recent years we have been pacified by the AFPRB who have defended our corner (of sorts), but they will be helpless to defend our interests against such an onslought on our way of life. How strange that their recent visit to Germany came before any formal announcement of this "significant" reduction in LOA - where we afraid of what spouses might say? No other employment grouping would tolerate such a raid on their terms and conditions without responding through some sort of action, but a lack of any voice that is backed by the teeth of collective representation is being used to force us down a road of significant pay cuts.

    This process will deliberately be handled in the most callous of ways, thus alienating serving personnel and encouraging them to "jump" instead of being "pushed" which will save the military millions.

    Standby standby.
  2. What paper do you work for? :nod:
  3. I know this is going to sound harsh, but we won't get much sympathy on civvy street. I've a lot of friends who have spent the last 2-3 years with pay freezes and pay cuts - and have been told to either cut wages, hours or lose their jobs.

    While there is enormous public sympathy for the forces and the work they do, the fact remains that HM Forces remains a very well paid job at pretty much all grades, especially when compared to the private and wider public sector. This is coupled with an employment package of allowances and perks that few, if any other organisations offer.

    While it is going to be hard for the next 2 years, we have to remember that its even harder outside. There will be no sympathy for any perception of 'whinging squaddies' particularly if the media do some indepth reporting about salary packages for a lot of areas. We whinge at our peril in my view.
  4. might be worth hanging around in the naafi first before sticking your journo nose in
  5. I never thought I would say this, but IMO, yes it is.

    While pay is, I believe, probably OK(1) conditions are anecdotally, from my POV, not.

    cf R&R problems with Air Bridge, sub-standard quarters, dangerous vehicles etc.

    The average soldier has no effective recourse in the current system. Complain once OK more that that and your career's toast.
    A union should, if embraced by the system(ha!) allow input at all levels that has not been filtered by someone 'at a delicate point' in their career.
    It has always happened and unless tackled, always will.

    (1) It is at least under constant review.
  6. Jim30 - I understand but do not agree. The 15% X-Factor is a fair compensation for the level of risk we take. If you took that 15% of a Pte's salary, he ends up with a basic pay the same as a telephone operator in the NHS - Band 2 rate of pay. Moreover, all employers who ask their staff to move around, live away from home, work unsociable and unpredicable hours and so on, have various mechansims to cover costs through a number of allowance schemes.

    More to the point, it is because the public would not really care what happens is WHY we need a union to protect ourselves. We - the Army - are 100,000 strong. We will reduce significantly in the coming years, but we know our work rates will not diminsh, rather they will continue to increase. If we had our own voice and increasingly set the rules for how we were employed, we would have a Government that thought more carefully if it took advantage of us an our impotence.
  7. Desktop Commando - Cheap answer and one ignorant of the issue. I am 20 years served.
  8. OK, I'll bite!

    Although, as yet, inexperienced in most matters of the armed forces, I can comment on unions. I've seen what the Fire Brigades Union has done to the name of the Fire service.

    The army would follow this example at it's peril. I'm my opinion the union has directly led to a culture of resentment, militarism and plain defiance in the fire service. Almost any instruction or change suggested by senior managment is publicy challenged. Firefighters are no longer receptive to any change and seem to challenge new ways of working for no other reason than sheer bloody mindedness. Union reps on station are more feared and listened to than any person of rank.

    People who do not join are marginalised, pressurised and bullied.

    I've no doubt thatthe FBU started life with honourable intentions, but it's been distorted into a mouthpiece for all the self important tossers who feel the world owes them!

    I would not like to see a unionised armed forces, the fact it isn't one of the reasons it now appeals to me far more than the Fire service.
  9. Firefighter - maybe so, but that is no excuse for our lack of voice to be exploited. You mention unions creating a culture of bullying etc - do you think that has not been present in the military for just as long, but just in other ways.

    I totally agree in that a union could create damage, but if the Government are willing to destroy the very fabric of what we are - whether to make an ideaoligal point or to take away our hard earned pay awards of recent years - then why should we simply sit back and take these fundamental changes. At what point would you say "enough is enough"
  10. Fair points, however, I think one of the main features of a military union should be no right to strike.
    Just imagine the chaos the next time you guys decide you're not getting enough time off... :)
  11. I see your point. And I can offer no answer or alternative.

    I think some kind of representation for the ranks is a good idea.

    I think an organization that is going to challenge legal orders and undermine the CoC is a dangerous move.
  12. OVer my dead body. Literally.
  13. chrisg46

    chrisg46 LE Book Reviewer

    Isnt this was BAFF was intended for?
  14. I quite agree!
    I find my collegues whinging quite embarrassing! Paid 27k a year to work 4 days on and 4 days off.

    I've just finished two night shifts in which I got a solid 7 hours sleep on each, watched TV, ate and attended one shed fire and a fire alarm!

    But I've digressed, this is about the Army not the Fire service. Of course the Army can never have the right to strike!
  15. unions alway undermine efficiency because they are run predominantly by people with ulterior motives(i.e communists in the uk and mafia in the us), however despite the obvious implications for national security i would support this because we could raise our salaries (bearing in mind that it would still be wrong)!!! In addition the police have a union, which is probably why they are so overpaid in comparison(the bastards even get issued alt-bergs), and this has not caused massive riots/law and order breakdown