Our Ref: SH/0001/RFA
23rd March 2020
Rates of Pay and Conditions of Service 2019 – Royal Fleet Auxiliary
Further to previous correspondence on the above matter, I can confirm that in the recent referendum members voted overwhelmingly to accept the 2019 pay award. Noting the result, the union's National Executive Committee has instructed me to inform the company of our acceptance of the offer. This instruction has been carried out and I have requested that the increase and any back monies are paid at the earliest opportunity. For ease of reference the pay award is as follows:-
An uplift of 2% of all pay band points.
The introduction of an enduring non-consolidated Shared Bonus Scheme, which has an additional individual value to those who qualify for the payment, of between 1.12% and 2.97% of salary for 2019/20, depending on grade, band and certification.
The current Special Bonus Scheme will cease with the introduction of the Shared Bonus Scheme the details of which are below.
The Royal Fleet Auxiliary Shared Bonus Scheme
The Shared Bonus Award
Navy Command has established a non-consolidated pot of 1.6% of the RFA pay bill, which will be paid to employees. The bonus will be paid at three levels, subject to the RFA's corporate objectives being achieved.
RFA Objectives 2019/20
The 2019/20 bonus will be paid on the achievement of the following objectives:-
RFA meeting the Fleet Operation Schedule.
Providing an RFA vessel to support Defence Task 1.
Documents of Compliance being successfully renewed (without which the RFA cannot operate).
The programme of ceremonial engagements being met.
RFA Budgetary Control Totals being met.
The size of the payment will be proportionate to the number of Objectives achieved by the RFA. For example, if only three of the five objectives are achieved, only 60% of the bonus 'pot' will be paid.
Individuals will be eligible for a bonus payment if:-
The RFA achieves its agreed corporate objectives.
The employee has completed at least 183 days service during the qualifying period (1 April - 31 March) while maintaining a satisfactory level of work performance.
The employee has completed at least 183 days employment (new recruits).
The employee has not been subject to Restoring Efficiency action in the preceding twelve months.
The employee has been appointable for at least 183 days (sickness/absence will be deducted from the qualifying period).
The employee is employed by the RFA on 1st March.
The eligibility criteria will be reviewed annually and adjusted to reflect business requirements. For the 2019/20 period the three levels of award, reflecting business outputs and to address Certification issues would be:-
Level 1 - Class 1 tickets (£1,500 for 2019/20)
Level 2 - All other contracted employees (£820 for 2019/20)
Level 3 - Trainees (£300 for 2019/20)
The intention will be to pay the bonus on an annual basis (in March each year), subject to the achievement of the RFA objectives and meeting the eligibility criteria.
Additionally, your Representatives convened an in depth meeting in Portsmouth to discuss the union’s strengths and weaknesses at the RFA. It was agreed that although the pay dispute started off positively in 2019, by the time of the re-ballot the momentum had been lost. This was not the failure of any individual and no one is specifically to blame for this. However, one of our weaknesses is how we communicated effectively to members. Owing to the size and scope of the RFA as an organisation this is always going to be an uphill struggle. Your Representatives will therefore work closely with RMT Head Office to see what can be improved going foward. There are no easy answers to this and solutions may take some time to take off, but it is recognised that this is key having an effective trade union in your workplace.
In terms of issues going forward, the RMT will approach the RFA regarding the bonus scheme sections of the pay award, to ensure that your union’s voice is heard when the eligibility criteria will be reviewed. The union also wants a detailed review of the banding and appointers system and will we approach the Commodore to get this process underway. The use of temporary contracts and pensions matter will also be raised in the coming weeks by the union’s negotiating team.
Finally, your union has raised the issue of pay and sickness absence during the current Coronavirus pandemic with the RFA and the Commodore has issued the following guidance:
“Requests from RFA employees wishing to take their leave to support family members in some way will be treated sympathetically. If an individual is informed by their Doctor or an NHS representative to self-isolate because of possible contact/infection with Coronavirus, such absences will be covered by Special Paid Leave i.e. individuals will be paid in full and will not be using their leave entitlement during this period. The RFA will manage case-by-case individuals with suspected Coronavirus infection on-board its ships and those that may require isolation abroad as a result of their RFA employment. All such employees will receive their normal pay and leave during such periods. Should an individual believe that they have Coronavirus, or they receive a diagnosis to that effect, they should inform their Appointer who will note that they are sick, using the correct code for this illness. All individuals identified with Coronavirus will be paid under the normal sick pay arrangements. The days they are sick will be recorded, but in line with the guidance issued for all MOD civilian employees, the RFA will exercise management discretion and discount these days with regards to the number of days absent. For RFA employees being appointed or joining ships, Appointers will establish if there any concerns related to their previous travels/contacts based on current Government and MOD Commodore RFA Command guidelines, and RFA Medical Technicians will screen individuals on-board.”