Maybe not a union - but an independent body who can look into cases of bad management.
The present system uses "the Chain of Command", great, but what if it is the "Chain of Command" that is broken? What do you do then?
Long term it would probably save MOD money as a problem sorted early is better than a court case 10 years later when Ex-Squaddie sue's the Army because of poor career management.
I have witnessed cases when I have shaken my head in disbelief with the decisions made by some officers, especially those in the MCMs/APC, and when you attempt to questions a decision made by them they close down the hatches and tell you to shut up like a good little tin soldier or get out!
Reading a recent copy of Soldier magazine (in a time of extreme boredom I might add) I nearly fell off my chair when someone had written in arguing for a soldiers union. The basic premis of the arguement was that "Officers, WOs and SNCOs have messes which are essentially unions" ??? ???
I can picture the mess meeting when AOB is reached and a vote is called to picket RHQ if we don't get jammy dodgers at 1000.
I think i remember that article to some bandsman wrote a letter about it or something.
But if there was an orginisation like bullshit talked about would is help sort out some of the problems that escalate into people leaving and sueing at an early stage where it would be sorted out reasonably amicably maybe leading to retaining a soldier who feel so agreived he/she would leave the army?
Could they really stop you being in a union, nurses have the RCN musicians the musicians union. MOs and dentists have their own regulatory bodies. Makes you think really. Wouldnt it breach dare i say it human rights if they refused.
However i think think the union reps themselves might have a bit of a problem representing you. In present civilillian employment if say for instance you get called on a disiplinary hearing you have the right to have a representive with you either a work colleague or a union rep. Cant see this happening if your on a 252 for instance.
I never really saw the use of being in a union as i felt the military represented you reasonably well, however i joined the NHS and realised its a must. The implications are huge and can you imagine a union rep who you have stood in longer NAAFI queues than they have done military service representing you, its not really feasable.
The forces do have support as in SSAFFA, ROYAL BRITISH LEGION. ETC
And the families office, which from what i can gather now give a hell of a lot more support to singlies than they did 7yrs ago. And dont forget the padres dept.
The police have a their own union the police federation but they also have a no strike policy, and the fed rep is usually the first PC who volunteers, if the Army were to have a similar thing the Rep would have to be someone with rank and they have that all ready ie OCs plattoon commanders etc.
Lets face it you would have really had to hack these people off to put them in a position that they wouldnt offer any help or advice.
In my humble opinion i dont think a union would be a good idea but then thats just me.
have a union for HM?
you appoint your tp/plt rep. as every one would like to be treated eqau, wouldn't they, I could imagine the arguments MT has a rep but Mortar Plt does not!!
then you have about 35 reps per battallion/regt. what about a Corps?
they get down to discussing issues, but 1 company are away and they feel left out etc. too many scenarios just to go off on that road.
Who would they talk to if/when a problem arose, and then again which union.
too many different trades for it to be feasible to be in just one union, and what happens if one union gets something and the others do not... lets take MOD for breaking equal opps etc.
and of course unions are not cheap to run, so you have to pay your monthly fees, and what happens to the person who does not want to join a union?
on and on i could go, but I think you got the idea
The Police enjoy the luxury of a federation to represent them. I would subscribe to a representative body since I do not believe the chain of command can do this and manage their own aspirations for a future career. Witness the appauling state of soldiers living accommodation this, in my 20 years of service, has always been a disgrace. Witness also the poor facilities/benefits for those on deployed operations - some of which could not be more benign so dont give me the old "ahh operations is different" line.
We deserve representation to defend and improve our pay and conditions.
Unionise and strike!!!!!!!! Go get organised!!!!!!! The crypto-fascists!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Squaddies rattling tins...................marvellous idea.
I'll be health and safety rep. We'll have the bastards. Management, pah! Who needs 'em? All they want you to do is work harder and longer for less cash! Before you know it you'll all be privatised.
If your gonna make a union and get TUC recognition then the Army will have to get a bit more PC.
The only way I could see this working is if it was a representative body NOT made up from serving soldiers but from ex soldiers across the board, a proportional mix of Juniors, Seniors and Officers with no internal "rank structure" based on previous military rank.
I.e. those that have a vested interest but could NEVER be swayed by the threat (no matter how veiled) of a bad CR, pass over for promotion, more duties etc, etc, etc.
The Police Federation is a good example but lets not forget that a lot of coppers don't actually give a toss about promotion and are happy to stay as PC's or Sgt's until the day they retire, I bet that you won't find many soldiers that could say the same.
Even then, it could only ever be a recommendatory body and should never, ever be given any power to affect the actual day to day running of the military in any way shape or form. This, therefore would require the co-operation of the MOD and the Gov't, who will never play because the last thing they want is an officially recognised body spouting off all the time about how sh1t the pay, equipment, conditions, LOA etc are.