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Is the AFPRB fit for purpose

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Is the AFPRB fit for purpose

Old 24th Dec 2022, 10:41
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Nope - wholly unfit for purpose as an independent pay review body, and if memory serves when they have tried to flex their muscle the government either watered it down - 2.9% recommendation delivered as 2% + non-consolidated one off bonus or didnít renew the Chairmanís tenure - X-Factor.

What we are seeing at the moment though is a compounding of issues. The current cost of living is the proximal factor, but the real underlying issue is the Toriesí desire to pay the absolute minimum possible to the public sector since 2010, leading to structural issues which have now gone symptomatic. As a strategy, it was always going to run out of road eventually, and so it has, and the argument of itís necessary to protect the public purse or curb inflation Ö well how did that go Mr Sunak?

As for incremental pay giving us a boost - I hope folk realise thatís just a method of underpaying you for what the job is worth. The actual rate for the rank is the top band, but they argue you donít have the knowledge or experience on promotion and in your early years in rank to warrant that - hence mark time on promotion. But in expecting you to do the duties of the rank - they donít change just because youíre year 1 or 2 in rank - it just means youíre underpaid. Heads I win, tails you lose.

And none of this is helped by a delusional Career Management organisation who genuinely think they are doing well. Itís no wonder that so many are, if not walking, are fluffing CVs and packing parachutes.

Last edited by Melchett01; 24th Dec 2022 at 11:42.
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Old 24th Dec 2022, 12:36
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Originally Posted by Lima Juliet View Post
BV

But youíre not factoring in the fact that the country has been through a lot of dwang in the past 10-14 years - financial crashes, mismanagement by Lab/Con/Lib Governments, a once in a generation global pandemic, a significant war in mainland Europe, BREXIT (a minor but not insignificant problem compared to the rest) and then the vagaries of no less than 3 defence reviews in that time. Do you really think that we would be seriously significantly better off after all of that? At best we could only hope for a modest improvement (which I believe we have).

Also, there has been significant change in how weíre all paid - you mentioned PAS, which came in 2003, but other things changed too (PAY16, RRP(F) changes, lump sums and timed promotion changes). They all make a significant change when you look at those,

There is another comparator as all of the pay reviews are available. So letís look at a 15 year Flt Lt on flying pay in 2004 versus one in 2022 (18 years apart).

In 2004 it took 3.5 years for a graduate to get to Flt Lt (5.5 years for a non-grad) and so after 15 years they would be top level 9 Flt Lt in year 13 which paid £37,883 pa plus they would have gone to Initial Rate after passing their OCU. In those days a jet-jockey like yourself would be through the OCU by around 4 years. So initial rate year 4, middle rate year 8 and top rate year 12. So in year 15 they would be on top rate flying pay of £31.87 a day. That is £11,632 pa plus £37,883 - total £49,515 pa. If they stayed a Flt Lt and wanted to stay in they would be boarded for PAS by 16/38.

Now in 2022 it takes everyone 2.5 years to get to Flt Lt and so they will be top level OF2-8 of £52,868 pa by year 15. Their basic annual pay up to that point will be better than their 2004 predecessor on annual basis too. Now, things havenít been going so well for this character in flying training and it has taken 6 years to get post OCU, but luckily they transition to the new RRP(F) at OCU+6 having been paid 4 years of Initial Rate and 2 years of Middle Rate on the legacy scheme before jumping onto Tier 2 Rate 1 in year 12 and by year 13 they are on Tier 2 Rate 3 paying £50.66 a day or £18,490 pa. Add the Main Pay and RRP(F) then you get £71,358. Also, at OCU+7 they can take a £70k one-off lump sum or wait until 1 Apr 23 and take the first of 2x £40k lump sums. Access to PAS is now at 20/40 for most given then new pension schemes.

Now using the Bank of England inflation calculator then 2004ís £49,515 is worth roughly £77,665 in Apr 22, about £6k more than the 2022 Flt Lt. That is the very basic calculation that you are doing, which does not take into account the earlier promotion to Flt Lt (3 years earlier for non-grads!), the access to larger amounts of RRP(F) over several years and the lump sums. Even if you do a basic £70k divided by the 6 year return of service then you get £11.5k more than the 2004 Flt Lt per year, less the inflation makes it £5.5k better off. The 2022 Flt Lt is most definitely better off, in so-called ďreal termsĒ, than the 2004 Flt Lt, when you add it all up. Thatís even whilst weíre in the dwang financially as I mentioned previously.

However, I do agree that the overall ďofferĒ is poorer due to the erosion of the standards in Mess accommodation, SFA, food, medical provision, fun factor, lack of HR support, opportunity, working day hours and the feeling of pride, Paying people more money will never fix that, in fact it could make some things much worse! Which is why I standby my comment that pay is not the answer, but just a small element of it - I know that personally when I took a pay cut to improve my own quality of life. So I fully agree ďa dramatic improval in standard of living is the only way to stop the rotĒ but I think we need to be careful giving the new bods an accurate picture of where they are financially rather than the slightly over-simplified view of %ge pay rises versus inflation (which I think we agree on too?).

LJ
It's true the country has endured a lot of 'dwang' in the last 10 years, but it's public sector workers who have felt the pressure of austerity the most. The private sector seems to have had a better few years, which probably explains why nurses, doctors and dentists prefer to work privately now as they get paid more.

It's a shame the government doesn't finally put some meat on the bones of the 'military covernant' by enshrining a minimum pay increase for military salaries linked to inflation into law. They bend over backwards for pensioners with a triple lock guarantee but, IMHO, honestly couldn't give a toss for the military who always just get on with the job without complaining.

Looking at the problem specifically for pilots for a second, flying pay should be binned and replaced with an entirely separate pay spine for pilots, separated out by rank as is done for other specialist trades. The spine should initially start on parity with other trades and rise slowly at the start to reflect the investment the RAF is making by way of training. After 5-6 years the increments should start to increase and reach a broadly similar amount to commercial left hand seat by the 20/40 point, with further rises peaking somewhere near a training captain salary. Maybe then more pilots will stick around, and the RAF might actually have a choice in who stays after their minimum pensionable term.
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Old 24th Dec 2022, 13:24
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BV has made an excellent point regarding the way house prices have spiralled upwards while public sector rates haven't kept up. Back in the days when the Earth was still cooling and dinosaurs still roamed (mostly on 10 Sqn), when I was first posted to Brize, I bought a house in Witney as did a couple of my colleagues - it cost about 2.4x my annual salary as a Flt Lt pilot on top rate flying pay. Today, to but that self same house at 2.4x his/her annual salary, an equivalent Flt Lt pilot would need an annual salary of £121000..... I've no idea how on earth anyone posted to Brize could afford to be a first time house buyer in this neck of the woods these days - or what the solution could be.

Cars! A typical fighter pilot car of the 1970s was the MGB. In 1973, it cost about £1400 brand new - you certainly can't buy a similar car for £14000 today (the BoE calculated equivalent); the MX-5 (reasonably similar to the MGB) costs over twice that.

The AFPRB can spring some nice surprises, back in 1991 after GW1 when pilots were leaving the RAF in large numbers for the airlines, we had a pay rise which worked out at 21.02%! Could such a thing happen again? Why ever not!
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Old 24th Dec 2022, 14:16
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Originally Posted by Krystal n chips View Post
At which point, there was a significant exodus, certainly of engineers...
Wasnít there still a redundancy programme running then from the 75 expenditure reductions?
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Old 24th Dec 2022, 14:19
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Originally Posted by Chauderon View Post
Iíll turn the question on its head; which UK organisation is fit for purpose? NHS? DVLA? HMRC? CAA? Ombudsman in any field? TV Licensing Authority? Border Force? Government?

Not meant as a rant. Living abroad, and I now believe the UKís general dysfunctional organisation must play a part in its overall decreasing productivity.

Whilst on pensions, 10 years after AFPS15 was first mooted and clearly illegal, still waiting for the remedyÖ
Er, not sure where you are as an immigrant, but is it any different in any other country anywhere on the planet?
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Old 24th Dec 2022, 14:23
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Thanks BV - there is of course something else to consider with house prices and that is Mortgage Interest Rates. In 2004 the interest rates were around 6% (I think my mortgage at the time was 5.75% fixed for 3 years), whereas over the past 10 years then you could easily find mortgages half that rate fixed for 5 years at 2-3%. So the affordability of a house was just as much in the grasp as it ever was. Now your house price in Apr 04 is correct at £150k but the average in Apr 22 was lower than you quote it’s £277k (that is Land Registry figures from the graph below):


Now, you’re right, in 2022 we are pretty much FUBAR’d as interest rates have gone up to 5-6% but the house prices are only just starting to budge downwards. Certainly around my area (about 40 mins drive from HQ Air) then we’ve see 5% reductions in the past 2 months. The same goes for the West Country that saw some of the biggest growth due to people moving there during COVID. Now, they are expecting a further 5% in 2023. So I’ve added an arrow to show that - average will probably be closer to £240k.

Now using those figures again, that is £50k wages for £150k house in 2004 (1:3) with my 5.75% interest rate would pay £849 per month. Now the best new buyer 5 year deal right now in Dec 22 is HSBC with 90% LTV at 4.84% fixed for 5 years - for say a £277k mortgage with a £28k deposit (say using one of those new £40k Aircrew Retention Payments after tax) that would be £1,432 per month for a repayment mortgage (the only type of mortgage I would recommend). We were getting retention payments in around the 2000-2005 period too.

Using the BoE inflation calculator then £849 per month in 2004 would be £1,405 per month in 2022. So in comparison to the actual mortgage amount of £1,432 per month it is only £27 a month adrift!

We all know that times are tough right now, but I don’t think it’s helpful spreading misery of how much better off we were in 2004 compared to 2022. We weren’t really, it was all about the same - in some cases we were slightly better off, or slightly worse off in others, but it all blobs up to be about the same. I didn’t buy my first house until 9 years into my Service, and now in the twilight years of my career I am just paying it off (having remortgage for sales 3 times after the first). I’ve had houses ‘Oop North and Dhan Sarf, I’ve been realistic as to what the family can afford and I have taken advantage of the cheap Mess accommodation if I needed to live away for short periods away from them. As long as I was sensible and realistic with that then I have been able to accept postings across the UK and keep my family in my own home. I still believe that is possible today, but if I am posted to RAF Benson or Brize Norton I won’t be buying a 4-bed detached nestled in the Chiltern Hills or Cotswolds with far reaching views, but I would be able to afford a house near, but not in, Banbury, Bicester or Gloucester with a 30-40 minute commute of the nearest base. Just like flying, you just have to accept compromise.

Further, I agree, we can all sell our souls to live and work in another country to significantly raise salaries, but that too comes at a cost for some (it’s why I declined BAe 20 years ago as the money wasn’t personally worth the sacrifice required). But, it works well for some - but I would NOT advise China though! This chap is spending Christmas in chokey! https://www.cbsnews.com/news/daniel-...ts-indictment/ . But the Services cannot and will never match the salaries of these deals - even if they did then the contractors would just raise them again and again passing the cost onto the customer. So really, the Service is better off just accepting they will lose onesie-twosies and ensure they train enough replacements and make sure that the Service environment is somewhere people want to stay with a fair wage (which drags me back to my point - it’s the working environment that is the real issue here, not the money ).
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Old 24th Dec 2022, 14:36
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BEagle - posted to Brize? Then I would buy houses in and around the places ringed:



All of these areas have houses that would be affordable (no I wouldn’t buy a house within Swindon!) and are 30-40 minute commutable to Brize (especially using Home to Duty). Cartoontown near Brize is massively overpriced for what it is anyway, and so is Whitney. But go a little further afield there are some nice places to live that is affordable. Didcot and Wantage are possible too, but more expensive than those ringed.
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Old 24th Dec 2022, 16:05
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Originally Posted by Lima Juliet View Post
BEagle - posted to Brize? Then I would buy houses in and around the places ringed:



All of these areas have houses that would be affordable (no I wouldnít buy a house within Swindon!) and are 30-40 minute commutable to Brize (especially using Home to Duty). Cartoontown near Brize is massively overpriced for what it is anyway, and so is Whitney. But go a little further afield there are some nice places to live that is affordable. Didcot and Wantage are possible too, but more expensive than those ringed.

Sorry but I have to stand up for Swindon! Not just easy access to Brize but to Corsham, Innsworth (whatever it is called now), GCHQ, AbbeyWood, Shrivenham, Lyneham, the Army units further south, and lots more places where you could get posted if you weren't flying. I even knew someone who commuted daily to High Wyc but that is a bit extreme tbh. Housing is affordable and the new places are very desirable, it's family-friendly with lots of green spaces, and plenty of mil people already living here. If you wanted to plonk your family in one place for stability and you do the commuting it's a good place to do it. Don't knock it until you've tried it!
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Old 24th Dec 2022, 16:14
  #29 (permalink)  
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Originally Posted by pr00ne View Post
Wasnít there still a redundancy programme running then from the 75 expenditure reductions?
Not that I recall, but, there were rapidly expanding PVR applications, all "helpfully " delayed in their processing.
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Old 24th Dec 2022, 20:40
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Originally Posted by Krystal n chips View Post
Not that I recall, but, there were rapidly expanding PVR applications, all "helpfully " delayed in their processing.
Yes, there was. I recall two ex-colleagues (both Chf Techs) who took advantage of it.
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Old 25th Dec 2022, 10:10
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surely we're missing the point in what people deserve to get paid, how they compare to others, what prices are doing etc etc.

As somebody who has only ever worked in the private sector, companies pay the least they can to get people in the door. If they're suffering recruitment problems they put wages up. Have lots of people applying, decrease or keep the wages the same.

I don't see any shortage of people wanting to join the assorted (bloated!) public service branches...
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Old 25th Dec 2022, 17:52
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Originally Posted by arf23 View Post
surely we're missing the point in what people deserve to get paid, how they compare to others, what prices are doing etc etc.

As somebody who has only ever worked in the private sector, companies pay the least they can to get people in the door. If they're suffering recruitment problems they put wages up. Have lots of people applying, decrease or keep the wages the same.

I don't see any shortage of people wanting to join the assorted (bloated!) public service branches...
Well maybe you can show us how private sector compares to the Ďbloatedí Armed Forces then?
  • A far more demanding selection procedure for what is probably a globally recognised leadership and management programme (I say that across all Services);
  • 24/7/365 duty liability with limited choice in employment or duty, no ability to protest or resign at short notice;
  • Life & death responsibility - both for those under your command or indeed the enemy or non-combatant civilians;
  • Failure measured beyond a bottom line on a spreadsheet or a share price - loss of life, strategic national failure, loss of multi million pound assets;
  • For those in staff appointments - management of national defence policy, provision of military advice to government ministers and policy, management of global operations;
  • All done set against an ever reduced manning level and constrained resource base.

So what in civilian life compares to those factors? Iím struggling to think of anything - including all the civilian employees in finance and industry I interviewed for at the same time as the RAF.

When you boil down what the Forces actually does, and when people in the Forces realise what skills they have, itís then we realise most private companies canít afford or arenít willing to pay for that level of skills and experience. Itís why a friend who has just retired as a Flt Lt is about to walk into a 150K role having successfully articulated what exactly the average Forces person brings to the table. But if you think itís an easy life, feel free to apply.



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Old 25th Dec 2022, 22:33
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Originally Posted by arf23 View Post
I don't see any shortage of people wanting to join the assorted (bloated!) public service branches...
Perhaps you should open your eyes then.

https://www.kingsfund.org.uk/blog/20...sing-workforce

The British Military is also suffering staff shortages.
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