Support for CFAV


A different viewpoint with the ACF and on the topic of discrimination but this is a report i refer back to regularly

in short - discrimination was claimed against the ACF - the defence was the CFAV is not an employee and thus the claim cannot be valid

I am not saying it is right or wrong - however in a court of law on at least one case, the courts find CFAVs not employees…

But I will say it is odd that we have employment “disadvantages” (paying Tax and NI) yet don’t get the usual array of advantages/benefits from employment…


Didn’t the National Trust (?) get themselves into a hole around the way volunteers were expected to ‘volunteer’, which is pretty much where we are. IF we were truly volunteers then we would ultimately decide what we do, how and when we do it. Every year we get the Wing Parade call up and it says all unformed staff to attend unless they get permission not to. Where exactly is the volunteering aspect in this?

This would definitely get a few sphincters twitching in the Ivory Towers, especially since with the CFC they are the last bastion when it comes to grievances. I’m in a union but only so I have somewhere to go if it goes belly up at work. There is nowhere in the ATC except the merry-go-round of the CoC which is completely self-serving.


I’ve looked into this previously, more for my own interest, not the reason for my original post.

Been tempted to call ACAS before to see if I could get an answer from them but never have.

I suppose the thing is, you can have two cases exactly the same as each other and one can be in your benefit, one not. The joys of an area that’s down to peoples opinions depending on how good a case you out forward.

The gov website says your most likely to be classed as an employee if most of the following are true.

they’re required to work regularly unless they’re on leave, for example holiday, sick leave or maternity leave
they’re required to do a minimum number of hours and expect to be paid for time worked
a manager or supervisor is responsible for their workload, saying when a piece of work should be finished and how it should be done
they can’t send someone else to do their work
the business deducts tax and National Insurance contributions from their wages
they get paid holiday
they’re entitled to contractual or Statutory Sick Pay, and maternity or paternity pay
they can join the business’s pension scheme
the business’s disciplinary and grievance procedures apply to them
they work at the business’s premises or at an address specified by the business
their contract sets out redundancy procedures
the business provides the materials, tools and equipment for their work
they only work for the business or if they do have another job, it’s completely different from their work for the business
their contract, statement of terms and conditions or offer letter (which can be described as an ‘employment contract’) uses terms like ‘employer’ and ‘employee’


so alot of those we can tick…

…what is interesting is the “auto roll up” to pension schemes unless we decide to opt out.

it is no longer a “can join” it is a “can leave” the pension scheme as I understand recent changes.

if we are classed as employees (and a lot of those elements indicate that we are) i wouldn’t mind a “military pension” to claim against when my time comes!


The interesting part is ‘they are not obliged to offer him work and he is not obliged to accept it’.

So when your Wing tell you you will parade at XXXXXXX, you are as far as I can see quite entitled to tell them no. If all uniformed CFAV for said parade said I’m having a day off there is nothing they can do about it.


[quote=“Teflon, post:22, topic:4610”]
Every year we get the Wing Parade call up and it says all unformed staff to attend unless they get permission not to. Where exactly is the volunteering aspect in this?

The interesting part is ‘they are not obliged to offer him work and he is not obliged to accept it’.

So when your Wing tell you you will parade at XXXXXXX, you are as far as I can see quite entitled to tell them no. If all uniformed CFAV for said parade said I’m having a day off there is nothing they can do about it.


The Police Federation is a staff association, but it is against the law for a Police Officer to withdraw their labour, just like the Military, hence the exemption in Article 11.

My point is that the CFC and change to RAFAC has put us into a “twilight zone” of who we actually are! HQAC and the HQs of the ACF & SCC have rushed this in without due consideration of the law! Being in the VR(T) meant that Officers were part of the RAF and subject to their rules and did not have or need employee status. All Adult NCOs should have been brought into the VR(T)! But as we are now not part of the Military (unless there is a big parade and the RAF have run out of people!!), will anyone answer these questions? The Human Rights Act is a contentious part of law, but has anyone put the Article 11 question around Trade Union membership to HQAC?


Now that would lead to a collective fit of the vapours.


Correct, the Wing can also decide you are no longer required for service.

We are volunteers and as far as volunteers go you simply don’t have the legal protection of an employee but likewise the organisation doesn’t have the control of you that they like to think they do.

Very few investigations in our organisation are carried out properly and as per the book which is where the staff support bit really lacks. We see a lot of things about mental health of our cadets but very little about supporting the volunteers mental health. Even those who the organisation has suspended ‘without prejudice’ while being investigated.


What the RAFAC lacks is a competant HR department.


Quite, but who loses and how does that get written up?

Support for staff should also come with the recognition that we have other things to do in our lives and as many of us work during the week, this means weekends and with an increasing burden on our time for things, doing a parade which means standing around for ages for about 15-20 minutes of action and then having to wait around for ages afterwards, does not constitute a good use of anyone’s day off.


With hte present lack of CFAVs in particular those who wish to command squadrons?


Absolutely agree!


I agree with this, but who holds the organisation to account, when procedures are either not adhered to or ignored totally?
Any individual who does try and defend themselves are abandoned, as they become “Toxic” to other staff, especially in the Senior ranks!
My work organisation appoints a Welfare Officer to anyone under investigation, no matter the allegation, to ensure the person does not feel abandoned. This is due to tragic cases where people accused have committed suicide!
I desperately hope this does not happen in the RAFAC, but there is nothing in place to prevent it at the moment.
I am not a supporter of politicised Trade Unions, but I would support an independent Staff Support Organisation.
I think I can foresee the reaction of Senior Officers to any request for such organisation, but this could be one of the unforeseen consequence of the changes to Staff status in the RAFAC. “It’s our human rights, guv”

What do others think?

Sleepy Koala, could an informal set up be put in place to support in the way suggested in the start of this post? I would happily be part of it, supporting my colleagues across RAFAC!


I’m not saying it wouldn’t be amazingly stupid of them to get rid of anyone willing to be part of the organisation at the moment. Just that you can’t hold them to account under the CFC as much as you could under VR(T) as we are more disposable than ever.

For them to be threatening removal for not completing an ACTO 19 I think says a lot about the way the organisation now thinks.


I think this is a very overlooked problem within the organisation. Competent HR would have prevented the issues we had as the VRT with service complaints going too far. Because we have an awful grievance process (i.e. non-existent) we have two issues: 1) reasonable complaints are ignored by idiots, and then escalated. 2) idiotic complains are not reasonably put down and end up being escalated.

I raised a grievance against a former CO of mine, one of my complaints was that when she called me in for an interview without coffee, she had failed to follow any of the steps laid out in the process. When I pointed this out to the Sector Commander he asked me “do you think it’s appropriate to bring this document into an interview with your commanding officer in order to dictate how they should run their squadron?” (Frankly, when the document is our own policy on conducting grievance and complaint interviews, then plainly yes!)

But if that’s just one example of how senior staff treat our own policies, what hope do we have?


Totally correct on your part and this illustrates how very poor the ‘system’ is, at least in the real RAF there would oversight of such things.


Ah yes, oversight. The eventual outcome was that I was transferred to a different unit. (Actually a great outcome, I am far happier than I was)

I was however, promised an interview with the WgExO or What CDR to discuss the issues at my old unit and the command there, that was three years ago. It never occurred.


A lot of these problems are systemic and due to the culture of the armed forces. They don’t have the same grievance and complaint culture that the real world has so don’t have the infrastructure or processes in place to deal with them normally like we would, in my opinion.

Our problems are because we’re a halfway house between both things - we want the normal civvy complaints and personnel support, but also the military ethos and ideology which the organisation isn’t set up to deal with.


The irony is that realistically we should have nothing to raise grievances against the people like us, as we are all just volunteers and if we don’t like it, we can just go and maybe this is where being part of the military, in the loosest possible sense, makes things far more complicated and awkward than it needs to be.

For instance you’re not happy at a sqn, you should be able to just go somewhere else to ply your trade or leave and not have the umpteen bits of paper and now the extra sodding around with personnel databases. I know several people involved in the Scouts who seem to move quite freely, for similar reasons people in the ATC cite grievances.

From what I have seen ‘grievances’ seem to be 99.99% personality clashes. It is funny that cadets just leave the ATC in these situations, but the grown ups hang around creating a bad atmosphere.

I do wonder as the years have gone on, whether we need the direct military input as it seems to bring less and less in terms of advantage and benefit, with sole exception of the free uniform for cadets. You can do the ethos and ideology, although is it needed to instil the good citizen and other things we inspire to achieve etc in the young people who after all are the reason we are here.