Paying for Food on ships - inbound?

Discussion in 'The Quarterdeck' started by geoffrey, Feb 22, 2007.

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  1. A little birdy told me that from July, RAs will have to pay for lunches on board ships they're serving in, and that pusser is actively looking for an excuse to charge all seagoing personnel food charges, even when the ships at sea and victualled-in people.

    Apparently, the Daily Messing Rate was cut from £2.03 to £1.16 in one go last year (although its a bit more now) - and this has to pay for 3 meals a day! Bloody hell - how do the chefs manage that?! This is a disgrace - why hasn't the press picked up on it?

    I was told once that a Met Police dog handler gets more per day to feed his dog than the caterers get per day to feed a matelot. I reckon its about twice as much now....

    Yet another cut in our terms and conditions, just like paying full whack for railcards, crappy pay rises, having to do jury service, being able to be sued for doing your job, health & safety nazis ruling all engineering tasks, ships being at sea 300 days a year. No wonder people are leaving in droves.
  2. Re: Paying for Food on ships - inbound

    Any more nails' to go in the RN coffin? Pay for your own kit and weapons? Standby pay rates whist alongside?
    Pooh !
  3. Re: Paying for Food on ships - inbound

    I know a little bit about this subject and can tell you categorically that there is NO intention to look at personnel at sea or victualled in onboard a ship in terms of them paying for their food. The free lunches for RAs is an issue that has gone on for ages. There is a currently a battle to preserve this but whether it will succeed or not I do not know.

    The Daily Messing Rate has changed for one very good reason. When the new food supply contract with Purple Food Services came in last year, an arrangement was made at Defence Food Services IPT that all the company's transport and operating costs would be paid centrally and not added onto the cost of the ingredients supplied. This means that the costs to the Catering Account has reduced massively and so the DMR has been reduced at the same rate. (Ship's still get the relevant supplements that they have always had) In real terms there is no difference to what the ship gets and how much it pays for it all that has changed is that the overheads no longer get added pro rata to the cost of food.
  4. silverfox

    silverfox War Hero Moderator Book Reviewer

    Re: Paying for Food on ships - inbound

    Presumably this is RAs when alongside in base port - which is the same in shore establishments. I think you'll find that Pusser is under pressure from the other Services to come into line with them, as they only get free scoff when in field conditions ie living in a ditch as opposed to a ship. Could be wrong - what we need is a HQ pusser to put us straight.

    and yes prisoners have a better DMR than we do....
  5. Re: Paying for Food on ships - inbound

    Silverfox, You have hit the nail well and truly on the head. And while prisoners may have better DMR. the practices of Prison Service and their contractual arrangements means that their food is nowhere near as good as Jack's. I know we all like to bleat about food but in my experience over quite a long time, our caterer's do a pretty damn good job.
  6. Re: Paying for Food on ships - inbound

    I have a couple of questions about this. Why was the DMR reduced at the same time, across the Fleet, for all ships - including for food already on board delivered under the old system - if the lump sum costs have been deducted? Surely for the cost of a lorry arriving at a CVS gangway is same as the cost of a lorry driving past 2 Basin for the MCMVs?

    How does the decrease in DMR affect deployed ships? Surely food costs from agents ashore are still the same, but the money that the ship's account uses to pay for it has been halved?

    If net costs have not reduced, why is almost every ship now running a huge deficit on their catering account, when previously most were running even?

    AND, if it was all worked out so perfectly and has nothing to do with cost-cutting, why was the rate almost halved first of all, and then increased by 50p a few months later?
  7. Re: Paying for Food on ships - inbound

    The only time I had really shite unhealthy food in the mob was on a minesweeper, loads of chips and beans. They were in defense watches though...
  8. Re: Paying for Food on ships - inbound

    I don't know what the fuss is about. As long as you still get your Sh!t on a raft, Train smash, Babies heads and Cheesy hammy eggy everything will be fine.
  9. Re: Paying for Food on ships - inbound

    VM's doing duties on board submarines are paying food AND accom now! whilst their general service counterparts parked next door are not paying food or accom and are sometimes getting £3 a day ULA. This has resulted in your average S/M JR being on less money that his GS counterpart and being 1 in 3 duties to boot.
    The answer is not to stiff the rest of you guys like this but to let anyone who is unable to return home or back to the base for mealtimes to have it for nothing. We have little perks as it is and as a good RA I feel satisfied if I can get some decent scran on duty without having to pay for it. If I have to start paying for it then they can kiss my A*SE.
  10. Re: Paying for Food on ships - inbound


    I'll try my best. I agree it is/was inappropriate to have food purchased under one DMR counted against another (reduced) one and I am pretty convinced that accounting arrangements were put in place to mitigate against this. Secondly when pusser buys food in a foreign port from a chandler the items are revalued after they have been brought on board so they are at the same price as the core list contract items

    I can't answer the last point as I have been out of the loop for a few months.. I also can't answer your claim about every ship running a huge deficit on the catering account. Is this gen dit or an assumption? If all ships were having problems with the DMR then the other 2 Services would be in the same position and FLEET and as well as LAND and STC would be taking this up with DFS and D Log Commodities. You may be right on this for all I know but the RN would not sit back and let it continue - it would be untenable.
  11. Levers_Aligned

    Levers_Aligned War Hero Moderator

    Re: Paying for Food on ships - inbound

    And some would argue that certain perks and privelidges remain untouched. Sorry to reopen issues addressed (or not, as it seems) elsewhere on this board but what right have we to carp about paying for scran at sea and succumbing to other such enforced fuckery when the edict of employing Stewards for officers remains intact. I have many friends in the stewards branch (possibly not so many now after reading this board, mind) but all I am doing is playing Devil's advocate here and asking questions long standing regarding grace and favour perks whilst the rest of the fleet goes wanting. Can anyone here tell me what the financial cost of stewardship of let's say, 1SL, 2SL C-in-C Fleet and the rest of the Navy Board? Some of you would say 'well, RHIP and they deserve it' and other such bollocks. I say, put your money where your mouths are and instead of releasing brief after Galaxy brief about covering up how skint we are (erm, guys ... we know. Many of us are on the cutting edge of skint) show some commitment and discard the trappings of luxury to indicate that we are all victims of the financial knife. I'd be sad to see stewards go, I think they provide a decent service and many of them do so tirelessly and in the face of abject arrogance and disdain at times, but my message isn't directed at them specifically, it's aimed at those positioned in towers of ivory who expect the withering fleet to swallow another bite of shit sandwich whilst arses are wiped at taxpayers expense. Paying for scran at sea will be gratefully recieved, I am sure ... but we must also equip ourselves with the notion that if it is to be done, other sacrifices have been made as well. We must also be satisfied that we are not railroaded into a no-choice situation, and that for our money, the only other competition isn't the NAAFI.

  12. Re: Paying for Food on ships - inbound

    Levers - I don't think you'll find a single serving officer at sea in favour of the Steward branch below the rank of Cdr. I would far rather choose my own food, based on what it looks like, at dinner time, and adjust my portion sizes according to how hungry I am, rather than choosing dinner at 7.15am, based on an edited and misinterpreted version of the menu, and which bears no relation to that from which everyone else on the ship has the choice.

    All we need is a serving hatch and a messman, and I'd be happy. Retinue staff do have their place, but that place is at very formal functions for VIPs, not every day babysitting for grown adults.

    Still don't think I should pay for lunch if I were RA - where else can I get it from?
  13. Re: Paying for Food on ships - inbound


    Please see my reply to Geoffrey's first e-mail; paying for food at sea or when victualled in on a ship is most definitely NOT on the agenda. The only issue up for discussion is the free lunch for RAs and hopefully it can be defended.
  14. Re: Paying for Food on ships - inbound


    your last sentence is bang on. As an RA onboard at lunchtime you have no choice of where to eat, no transport to get you to another venue to eat (your car will be miles away by the gate) and you can't bring sandwhiches as you have no fridge to keep them until lunchtime (food hygiene regulations etc). It is madness to expect a meal paying system to work; what do we do put a JR on a till at the end of the counter? All these arguments are being put forward amongst others.
  15. Levers_Aligned

    Levers_Aligned War Hero Moderator

    Re: Paying for Food on ships - inbound

    And I am in full agreement with what is stated there. The company should stump up for my lunchtime scran, or ... place competition in the dockyard for my custom. And by that I don't mean the Triton Galley. As for your 'till at the end of the counter' ... I was having that arguement just this morning. It also begs the question about 'scran on demand' and a 24 hour galley, and the carrying of victuals to ensure we don't run out of a certain dish, all of which is absolutely unworkable for naval chefs even with the best will in the world. They do the best they can ... now with half the cash. I still have yet to see the rationale behind the scran price cut, and if this is 'Purple Foods' behind this, then let's investigate who, when and why they were contracted. Let's scrutinise what their attraction is and what they have to offer. If it's less choice and cheaper food, then 'why'? Are we talking a PFS problem here? No use blaming the chefs and the Logs people on board - they can only do with what they have. Shit in - shit out. Who are Purple Foods? Who is on their board? What is thier company record of supplying to the crown and can we see their customer feedback from other supplied clients?

    I think I know the answer to all of the above, but I am prepared to be surprised.

  16. Re: Paying for Food on ships - inbound

    Levers, whilst I have been known to rant on this site about issues various, I take particular issue with the unfounded and small-minded statment that stewarding service is provided at times:

    "in the face of abject arrogance and disdain at times"

    Having so far served in about 7 ships as an officer, I have only ever come across the arrogance and disdain you mention once and that was jumped on by the XO pretty quickly. I can't ever recall having beaten a steward or flinging my food at one. I can't even remember ever having gotten cross with one. Which ship is it that this arrogance has been so prevalent? Temeraire? Britannia? Victory? Nelson? Or maybe the Hindostan?

    Got it, it must have been the Dreadnought - oh hang on, we're in the year 2007 not 1907, the victorian era is over It would have been by a year in 1907 anyway!!)

    Nothing is appreciated more when coming off the bridge at some damned hour after normal scran is ceased to find that he stewards didn't forget you and have made sure that there is something to eat. I can guarantee that a freebie cup of tea in the morning as a Lt is well appreciated, as is the hoovering and bin emptying and all the other functions that they perfom. I tell you what, the first aid they provide is superb as well. And for the guys who come over from Fuji, i have lots of respect for them - upping sticks and coming half way round the globe for the RN.

    Do you really expect 1SL/2SL/CINC et al to cook and serve for the foreign dignatories, foreign admirals and all the rest of the official entertaining that they are required to do? I guarantee you that the steward branch is highly appreciated.

    And for my other two pennys worth, why exactly should we pay for scran in any circumstance. Is this a 9-5 job we do? No it f*cking isn't. Is it so easy that anyone could do it? Answer nope.

    Why is it so difficult for the government to see that the armed forces have had enough of this petty penny-pinching. No other armed force in the world does this to its servicemen, why exactly is ours doing it to us.
  17. Re: Paying for Food on ships - inbound

    Hear Hear
    I think that the stewards do a brilliant job. So much so that the branch should be expanded and everyone from Leading Hand upwards would then be able to enjoy this brilliant service.
  18. Re: Paying for Food on ships - inbound

    This is one of the most sensible posts that I have read from a member of the officer corp. Having served as a senior rate and also having participated in sea trials as a civilian living in the wardroom I know where I would rather eat. Definitely the SRs galley. The senior rate generally has a better selection and portion size than his officers will ever have. The time for stewards is over.
  19. Re: Paying for Food on ships - inbound

    Just out of interest, what are the rules about being listed as victualled-in when living on a ship? If, for example, I lived in Guzz and was on a Guzz ship, would I be allowed to say I was victualled in, get 3 meals a day and not go home? I'm happy I wouldn't get any Home-to-Duty payments, but I'm too close anyway.

    And if that's OK, what's to stop me being a victualled man, but staying at my house at night occasionally? And what if occasionally meant "5 nights a week"? Surely the caterers would be happy, because they get more income from me than an RA person.

    Where does victualled become RA? And, as if I suspect, the answer is "there's no rule", then the answer is for everyone who is RA to list themselves as victualled-in, give the caterers more cash, and be able to have a bite to eat at breakfast when you come in from home early.
  20. Re: Paying for Food on ships - inbound

    Geoffrey, that wonderful publication JSP 456 (Defence Catering Manual) can answer all your questions but to save you the bother of reading it I can (safely?) say that there is nothing in there that stops you declaring yourself as being victualled in. There is no benefit to changing the current regs around RA lunches but if the powers that be insist on it then I think you have answered your own question on how to avoid it. (But I never said that :wink: )

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