British Armed Forces Federation launched

hammockhead

Lantern Swinger
#1
We have lift-off. Press launch was at 1100 this morning. You can join here


Independent
Armed forces get a voice on their pay and conditions
By Terri Judd
Published: 11 December 2006

The first professional staff association in the history of the modern British military will be launched today, amid mounting levels of dissatisfaction with pay and conditions in the era of the "war on terror".

The birth of the British Armed Forces Federation (Baff) comes at a time when many in the Army, Royal Navy and Royal Air Force believe they are being overstretched in Iraq and Afghanistan by political masters who have failed to back them with sufficient support and funding.

In a sign that the Army hierarchy is moving to address rank-and file grievances, it was revealed yesterday that troops injured in Iraq and Afghanistan are to awarded millions in compensation after a Government ruling that they are victims of crime.

While servicemen and women continue to engage in combat in both Iraq and Afghanistan, the official cessation of hostilities - in May 2003 in Iraq - gives them the legal right to criminal compensation.

In series of test cases likely to pave the way for many more, 40 servicemen have been awarded up to £500,000 each. Compensation is expected to range from £1,000 for injuries such as small facial scars to half a million for loss of limb. The new scheme will apply to troops remaining in the military who have been injured in terrorist attacks such as roadside bombs but is expected to exclude those wounded in offensive operations against insurgents.

Last week, retired General Sir Mike Jackson, the former head of the Army, accused the Government of failing to give the forces "whole-hearted support" or adequate funding. He said failure to deliver improvements to living accommodation, pay and equipment threatened the "ethos of soldiering" which made them willing to put their lives at risk for their country.

The care of injured soldiers will be a key issue issue on which Baff will campaign. The idea of a virtual "union" was came up in a blog on the unofficial Army Rumour Service website in January. Under the name "Glad it's all over", a former senior NCO, Henrik Kiertz-ner, wrote: "There seems to be a gap in the market for a body which could lobby on behalf of the serviceman/woman, and address some of the more dimwitted ideas our lords and masters come up with."

Douglas Young, the chairman of Baff, said it was not a trade union and would not condone industrial action. "People in the armed forces work only by co-operation with others and that is the spirit with which we will go forward," he said.

Membership will cost about £30 a year.
 
#2
Hmmmmm... I am suspicious of an organisation that wants to represent me for money when all but one of the 7 core members are retired. (All pongos too..... :wink: ). I also believe that there are plenty of hidden agendas and axes to grind within the organisation.

I might join if they could convince me that they were truly independent and held no political agendas.

I personally feel I am already represented by my Divisional System. I suspect I am probably in the minority though.

Happy to be persuaded otherwise.
 
#3
I think that the Royal British Legion achieves far more than this organisation will ever achieve.
Better to spend your hard earned £30 in the legion bar.
 

hammockhead

Lantern Swinger
#4
A few of those involved are serving regular, a few are serving reservists, including one naval reservist. For obvious reasons not all are happy with having their details plastered all over the internet, so the list on the site is not complete. The retired guys, having more time and nothing to lose careerwise, are doing much of the legwork, and believe me there has been lots of it.

The current executive committee is in any case only transitional until a general meeting can be held in the spring, when all positions will be up for election by the members in accordance with memorandum and articles of association. Ultimate control over the Federation rests with the members via the general meeting. All positions are currently unpaid. The Federation is a non-profit company limited by guarantee, and accounts will be audited and filed with Companies House just like any other company.

Let's face it, a lot of the shit that has prompted the setting up of the Federation has affected the Army most of all, but it does affects us as well. You may feel adequately represented by the Divisional System, but the Divisional System also has no power over how much you get paid (the AFPRB currently does research and consults with everyone else but us, but we have no voice), or how non-MOD government departments treat you when you leave the Service, e.g. housing, education, etc. Also, as Sir Mike Jackson recently noted, the three uniformed service chiefs have little power over what goes on in the MOD machine; if they did we wouldn't have a shrinking Fleet and a completely overstretched Armed Forces.
 
#6
I for one am pleased in principle that they have got it up and staggering. Obviously time will tell but I do believe that there is a need for an organisation to speak out for the armed forces.

I am concerned that all of the steering board are at present pongoes, I would have thought they could at least have had a token sailor and crab to justify their claim to speak for all.
 
#7
hammockhead said:
A few of those involved are serving regular, a few are serving reservists, including one naval reservist. For obvious reasons not all are happy with having their details plastered all over the internet, so the list on the site is not complete.
Sorry, having unknowns lurking in the background doesn't fill me with confidence.

hammockhead said:
The retired guys, having more time and nothing to lose careerwise, are doing much of the legwork, and believe me there has been lots of it.

The current executive committee is in any case only transitional until a general meeting can be held in the spring, when all positions will be up for election by the members in accordance with memorandum and articles of association. Ultimate control over the Federation rests with the members via the general meeting. All positions are currently unpaid. The Federation is a non-profit company limited by guarantee, and accounts will be audited and filed with Companies House just like any other company.

Let's face it, a lot of the shit that has prompted the setting up of the Federation has affected the Army most of all, but it does affects us as well. You may feel adequately represented by the Divisional System, but the Divisional System also has no power over how much you get paid the AFPRB currently does research and consults with everyone else but us, but we have no voice), or how non-MOD government departments treat you when you leave the Service, e.g. housing, education, etc.
Neither will the BAFF, and to be quiet honest I would rather people I know in the Service, (the Divisional System), dealing with representations than some bloke in the BAFF who may or may not have any sort of political and social agenda.

hammockhead said:
(Also, as Sir Mike Jackson recently noted, the three uniformed service chiefs have little power over what goes on in the MOD machine; if they did we wouldn't have a shrinking Fleet and a completely overstretched Armed Forces.
Not sure the 3 Service Chiefs would actually have any effect if they did speak up. A shrinking Service is more to do with shrinking resources than political clout.

Although I appear somewhat negative here, I am very wary of changing an established system for an untried (in the UK) method which may not be as representative of its members than the original.
 

hammockhead

Lantern Swinger
#8
Maxi_77 said:
I for one am pleased in principle that they have got it up and staggering. Obviously time will tell but I do believe that there is a need for an organisation to speak out for the armed forces.

I am concerned that all of the steering board are at present pongoes, I would have thought they could at least have had a token sailor and crab to justify their claim to speak for all.
As I said, there is one RNR and there is one ex-RAF on the executive committee. I agree time will tell, but it will not be as successful as one would hope without participation from all three services.
 
#9
hammockhead said:
Maxi_77 said:
I for one am pleased in principle that they have got it up and staggering. Obviously time will tell but I do believe that there is a need for an organisation to speak out for the armed forces.

I am concerned that all of the steering board are at present pongoes, I would have thought they could at least have had a token sailor and crab to justify their claim to speak for all.
As I said, there is one RNR and there is one ex-RAF on the executive committee. I agree time will tell, but it will not be as successful as one would hope without participation from all three services.
I think it is a potential problem that the sailor and crab do not have the confidence to stand up and be counted, it realy does look to the average Joe like an organisation run by the pongoes, and as long as it looks like that I suspect then it will tend not to draw support from the other services.

As to the divisional system being a suitable means of providing the same impact for the RN, I am sorry and this is speaking as an ex DO whilst it does provide a good service for the rating within it's capabilities it has serious limitations, and cannot use the press to campaign on it's behalf.

Peter
 

hammockhead

Lantern Swinger
#11
dhoby_bucket said:
The divisional system is only as good as the level of experience held by the DO..
More to the point, if you expect a subbie or chief to be able to do anything about basic things like pay or allowances, or your terms and conditions of service, then you must be on another planet!
 
#12
What happenned to the Armed forces pay review board that was around in the 80s? They were supposed to be made up of independent experts and the government was supposed to take note of the board findings.
 
#14
hammockhead said:
dhoby_bucket said:
The divisional system is only as good as the level of experience held by the DO..
More to the point, if you expect a subbie or chief to be able to do anything about basic things like pay or allowances, or your terms and conditions of service, then you must be on another planet!
They are just the roots of the Div. System, which IIRC goes up as far as you want it to go.
 
#15
I think I'll probably splurge out 30 sheets on a membership. I can think of plenty of occasions when an independant organisation supplementing the divisional system would have been handy.
 

hammockhead

Lantern Swinger
#16
slim said:
What happenned to the Armed forces pay review board that was around in the 80s? They were supposed to be made up of independent experts and the government was supposed to take note of the board findings.
The AFPRB is an independent body which makes pay recommendations on the basis of evidence submitted by the Government and others. The problem is that while there is a lot of detailed evidence submitted by the Government and chiefs of staff, all the rest of us get are 'discussion groups'. All well and good, but discussion groups are no match for the MOD's well-crafted 'official version' of living expenses, costs of living, etc. It is as if you had a civil trial and one side had an enormous team of lawyers, accountants, etc. and the other side had no representation at all but was invited for a 'discussion' with the judge.
 

hammockhead

Lantern Swinger
#17
Clouseau said:
dhoby_bucket said:
The divisional system is only as good as the level of experience held by the DO..
True - and what of BAFF appointed representation?
BAFF is not here to replace the Divisional System. We are all by and large proud of the fact that we have a much better system than the Army. However, how many times have DOs taken things up the chain of command and been told "Oh, that's come from CinCFleet, there's nothing we can do about it", or "We can't do that, it was either here or Gordon Brown's constituency", or "The JPA contract didn't make any provision for that allowance, so there's nothing we can do now"?

In those situations either you or your DO could contact the Federation and it might be something that we could take right to the top. In other cases, we could advise the DO on how to take it further. If it doesn't work, in appropriate cases we might take it to MPs or peers and get them to put pressure on the Government, or take it to the press. Some parliamentarians and media are really on our side.

All this is new and experimental, and there will be difficulties to start with, but it is up to us to get involved and make sure it works.
 

the_matelot

War Hero
Moderator
#18
BAFF is not here to replace the Divisonal system at all. It is here to be a voice for ALL service personnel-not just army. I have become a member of BAFF and I have been involved with the initial steering group over on a closed forum on ARRSE. Trust me, I would not get involved if I did not think the Navy would benefit from this.
 

chieftiff

War Hero
Moderator
#19
I think the concept is sound and would agree with Hammockheads comments, we will to some extent have to suck it and see, we are very lucky having the divisional system it far outstrips both the Army and RAF support systems and is undoubtedly here to stay. If anyone truly thinks the AFPRB is independent ask yourself why the same guy (Prof Greenaway of Nottingham University) has been asked to chair the organisation 3 years on the trot, so he can cover up his own previous oversights? or because the Govt likes his work?
 

Seadog

War Hero
Moderator
#20
The Matelot wrote

BAFF is not here to replace the Divisonal system at all. It is here to be a voice for ALL service personnel-not just army.
Nor is it in the same area as the British Legion who as far as I can see are more concerned (rightly) with veterans' issues. I don't see them lobbying for more /better/right time right place kit for men and women at the sharp end.
 

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