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Thread: A union for volunteers?

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    Senior Member big chris's Avatar
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    A union for volunteers?

    Harking back to an old conversation... A union would have been a good thing here, no?

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    Quote Originally Posted by big chris View Post
    Harking back to an old conversation... A union would have been a good thing here, no?

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    That would depend on whether the individuals concerned were members.

    Also not sure how a union would work for volunteers as usually you pay union membership from your wage/salary. If you are not 'employed' then you can't pay from your pay so would have to be waived at the cost to those who are paid or the volunteer would have to pay out of their own pocket so basically paying to volunteer.

    Not sure too what unions would have done. Some are utterly useless.

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    Maybe not a union, but an ombudsman?

    Thing is, it would need to have teeth. Most unions no longer do.

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    ASL Kev's Avatar
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    I could see that paid staff in fear of losing their job could put up with stuff like this and the inaction from the organisation and trade unions could have a role there. The question in my mind is why didn't the volunteers go to the police?

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    Senior Member bernwood's Avatar
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    Lessons to be learned here - when the corporate reputation comes above the people they are supposed to be protecting - this has happened on a smaller scale may times in Scouting. SA has paid out to complainants to keep them out of the courts to protect its face, and then hangs people out to dry.

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    Senior Member Bushfella's Avatar
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    Chris,

    We have discussed this at great length here in the past.

    A union for Volunteers is , as we came to the conclusion, is not the way ahead. We are, after all, volunteers and the leverage a Union might have is minimal. However voluntary services arbitration processes could be established - they already exist commercially - where volunteers and their charities can go to arbitration.

    However, I suspect that most volunteers who feel maligned by their charity will just walk away and either withdraw support, or do something else... There is usually little to be gained from taking action against a charity. For example, had I acted against TSA, let's say for constructive dismissal, there would have been a prolonged case, which I may or may not have won, and I would, had I returned to Scouts face not only the same management as before but would have lost the support of those who would have frowned upon my action of taking TSA to task.

    We can all probably think of people who walked due to piss poor volunteer management, most will just move on to something different.

    I do know of one Leader who walked away from one District due to poor managment and recently took up a role in a different District, but he is an exception. I rather obviously know of a few who have left Scouts and joined other organisations, not just Navigators, but largely, they turn their back on a bad experience.

    A Union just adds to conflict potential in a voluntary scenario, I think. Arbitration services though offer some mediation that brings about mutual agreement rather than confrontatational outcomes.
    Ewan Scott

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    Senior Member bernwood's Avatar
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    You can't have a union in Scouting, as it is a private organisation, not a commercial or charitable concern. As a volunteer you have no employment rights, or means of redress that you have in your working life, so what use would a union be. If you have an issue with SA your only option is to leave.

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    Senior Member Bushfella's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by bernwood View Post
    You can't have a union in Scouting, as it is a private organisation, not a commercial or charitable concern. As a volunteer you have no employment rights, or means of redress that you have in your working life, so what use would a union be. If you have an issue with SA your only option is to leave.
    That is not always the case.

    You can follow the complaints procedure in Ch9 of POR, some people have had success. There is the potential to go to arbitration, but I doubt that TSA would play ball. There is the option to walk away and do something else - like join UK-BPSA - as several have done, I know a few who jumped ship rather than put up with TSA nonsense. I know of several who have gone to UK-BPSA, and some who have gone to BBS&BGS, and of course a few who have gone to Navigators, or even MK Adventurers.

    This is NOT why I set up Navigators, but I can tell you that if you want to upset the people who "pushed" you out, setting up something that they see as competition is a very good way to get on their nerves. Five years down the line and we still get the odd shot fired at us. They always miss though.
    Ewan Scott

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    Is not the issue, that Scouts is no longer a 'voluntary' organisation in terms of it's structure and management?

    Lets be honest, if we ran Scouting exactly as it should be ran according to POR, the only difference between that and work would be payment, or lack there-of.

    Looking at it like that, the only reason Scouts is still as successful as it is, is because people are ignoring huge tranches of the rules and keeping very quiet about it. (That includes those who are mismanaging and backstabbing people out the door.)

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    ESL and DESC ianw's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by pa_broon74 View Post
    Is not the issue, that Scouts is no longer a 'voluntary' organisation in terms of it's structure and management?
    Your group is probably a registered charity right? How many paid employees does it have?

    All the groups in our district are charities, entirely run by volunteers, maybe the odd cleaner paid for.
    Our district is a charity, entirely run by volunteers, with a cleaner paid for.
    County is a charity, runs a wardened campsite, so has about 5 employees and a part time admin.
    It's only HQ that probably has a high proportion of employees to volunteers.
    It's definitely a voluntary organisation.

    Quote Originally Posted by pa_broon74 View Post
    Lets be honest, if we ran Scouting exactly as it should be ran according to POR, the only difference between that and work would be payment, or lack there-of.

    Looking at it like that, the only reason Scouts is still as successful as it is, is because people are ignoring huge tranches of the rules and keeping very quiet about it. (That includes those who are mismanaging and backstabbing people out the door.)
    I'm ignoring the one about name tape colours, are the "youth must be on compass" ones still in there? If so, them.

    I would say that most people are following most POR rules, even if it's more accidental than not. I'd guess a fair few leaders know very little of POR, which is fine mostly, a lot of it doesn't apply to many people. You in a group can ignore chapter 4 more or less completely I'd have thought.
    Ian Wilkins
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    Quote Originally Posted by ianw View Post
    Your group is probably a registered charity right? How many paid employees does it have?

    All the groups in our district are charities, entirely run by volunteers, maybe the odd cleaner paid for.
    Our district is a charity, entirely run by volunteers, with a cleaner paid for.
    County is a charity, runs a wardened campsite, so has about 5 employees and a part time admin.
    It's only HQ that probably has a high proportion of employees to volunteers.
    It's definitely a voluntary organisation.



    I'm ignoring the one about name tape colours, are the "youth must be on compass" ones still in there? If so, them.

    I would say that most people are following most POR rules, even if it's more accidental than not. I'd guess a fair few leaders know very little of POR, which is fine mostly, a lot of it doesn't apply to many people. You in a group can ignore chapter 4 more or less completely I'd have thought.
    I think you've missed my point.

    I said the only real difference is that we're not paid. If you put that to one side, and look at the structure, the language of it and in some places, the ethos - if a person who had no prior knowledge of what Scouts was - was asked if they thought it was a charity or a corporate entity, no way they'd say it was a charity.

    I've always maintained Scouts works despite POR, not because of it.

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    Senior Member Bushfella's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ianw View Post
    Y.

    I would say that most people are following most POR rules, even if it's more accidental than not. I'd guess a fair few leaders know very little of POR, which is fine mostly...

    Going to disagree here.

    Many people do not follow POR, I would say the majority. They do not fall foul of this because they usually play reasonably safe. The problem about not knowing the rules and not playing by the rules is that when something goes wrong, ignorance does not excuse wrongdoing.

    Thankfully, I no longer have to worry about the pseudo legalee of POR, I ask my Trustees to read CC3 and our Leaders to follow our policies, which are published on our website. They all sign them to say they have read them....

    Say, someone were to take a group of 50 kids wild camping in the Jura mountains, with two Leaders, not inform the Marie or the Gendarmerie, for example, they will be absolutely fine until a kid breaks a leg and has to go to hospital, the paperwork isn't quite what the hospital needs, the Gendarmes arrive, the brown smelly stuff starts hitting the fan...

    We have all seen the posts - Well, I took a borrowed minibus to France and it wasn't an issue... It could have been a huge issue had something gone wrong....
    Ewan Scott

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    ESL and DESC ianw's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by pa_broon74 View Post
    I said the only real difference is that we're not paid. If you put that to one side, and look at the structure, the language of it and in some places, the ethos - if a person who had no prior knowledge of what Scouts was - was asked if they thought it was a charity or a corporate entity, no way they'd say it was a charity.
    Aye, like a visitor to the UK would think the British Heart Foundation was a chain of shops with an odd line in stock.
    Ian Wilkins
    Farnham District Explorer Scout Commissioner

    Jambowlree - Worldwide Scout Ten Pin Bowling Competition
    All sections, all countries, runs December 2018 - May 2019
    http://www.jambowlree.org

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    Quote Originally Posted by ianw View Post
    Aye, like a visitor to the UK would think the British Heart Foundation was a chain of shops with an odd line in stock.
    Line managers - tick
    Compulsory training - tick
    Management structure - tick
    recruitment process - tick
    interview panels - tick
    disciplinary procedures - tick
    set hours - tick (sort of)
    training plan - tick
    review interviews - tick
    hierarchy - tick
    Uniform - tick (haha, sort of)
    salary - nope

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    What no targets?

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