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  1. #51
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    Default Re: Veteran coastguards sacked for rescuing car from cliff edge

    Quote Originally Posted by RichardS View Post
    I would have thought that the difference between being on a "shout" and then being "stood down" was so clearly different to "freedom to determine when they undertake which tasks are part if their employment" that it would not need me to explain it.
    I think you may be confusing "stood down from their work as auxiliary coastguards" and "stood down from one particular incident". You'll notice in the article that the fire brigade was also stood down - I suspect that their bosses would have been a little peeved if they had left the fire engine where it was and gone to do something else.
    "Seamen are always wanting to do things the proper way; and I like to do them my way."

  2. #52
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    Default Re: Veteran coastguards sacked for rescuing car from cliff edge

    Quote Originally Posted by RichardS View Post
    If these were employees in the normal sense they would be in line for a big unfair dismissal payout, and I'd be happy to represent them in court as the case would be a slam dunk win.
    OK, so back to post #1.

    If they were employees, they would have ignored a direct instruction from their managers, left work without permission, keeping safety equipment which could be needed for other staff incidents and then carried out work which they had been specifically told not to do. That's a "slam dunk win"?
    "Seamen are always wanting to do things the proper way; and I like to do them my way."

  3. #53
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    Default Re: Veteran coastguards sacked for rescuing car from cliff edge

    Quote Originally Posted by JumbleDuck View Post
    I think you may be confusing "stood down from their work as auxiliary coastguards" and "stood down from one particular incident". You'll notice in the article that the fire brigade was also stood down - I suspect that their bosses would have been a little peeved if they had left the fire engine where it was and gone to do something else.
    I think that we can all agree that the newspaper articles are not authoritative on any of the details. In fact, they are self-contradictory, so I have made some assumptions which cannot be clarified until I "see their contractual details to understand what their actual status is."

    I agree with you that one of my assumptions would be that the fire crew would be full-time employees whereas the coastguards would be part-time volunteers of uncertain contractual status. The fire crew would therefore, indeed, be in a different situation if these assumptions are correct and would have had to discuss the situation vis a vis the stranded car with their superior before taking any further action.

    The approach adopted by the coastguards in removing their uniforms and using their own car and equipment strongly suggests that their understanding is that they are relieved of duty once they are stood down. Of course, even though they are very long service, they might be totally wrong about this but, if they are, then that would be an indication that they might well be employees/workers rather than true volunteers.

    Richard

  4. #54
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    Default Re: Veteran coastguards sacked for rescuing car from cliff edge

    Quote Originally Posted by JumbleDuck View Post
    OK, so back to post #1.

    If they were employees, they would have ignored a direct instruction from their managers, left work without permission, keeping safety equipment which could be needed for other staff incidents and then carried out work which they had been specifically told not to do. That's a "slam dunk win"?
    The case will, of course, hinge upon the actual contractual requirements, custom and practice, previous employment record, and what would be a reasonable response from management in all the circumstances.

    The newspaper articles are weak on detail but the only reason for the dismissal is stated as their failure to immediately return the vehicle to the coastguard station. Now, if those are the only two coastguards on call, and if they are in constant radio contact with their base such that if another shout came in then they would be the first responders anyway, then they would be the two guys who would be required to use the vehicle and they already have it.

    In these circumstances, where they are trying to help a member of the public and not quaffing ale in a pub, would a Tribunal find that the dismissal of two long service coastguards was fair? Or would the Tribunal consider that a written warning was a more appropriate management response?

    Richard
    Last edited by RichardS; 07-07-19 at 08:43.

  5. #55
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    Default Re: Veteran coastguards sacked for rescuing car from cliff edge

    Reading this thread with all its contorted twists and comments, I have to come down on the side of RichardS. He has not made any wild claims, just sensible comments on the original newspaper report. We all know how accurate newspapers can be, or should that be how inaccurate they can be.
    If my foresight was as good as my hindsight, I would be a multi-millionaire.

  6. #56
    photodog is offline Lord High Commander of Upper Broughton and Gunthorpe
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    Default Re: Veteran coastguards sacked for rescuing car from cliff edge

    Quote Originally Posted by Bru View Post
    I hate to disagree with Mr Dog but ...

    Most, virtually all in fact, volunteers DO have contracts either directly or indirectly

    I have absolutely no doubt whatsoever that Coastguard volunteers sign an agreement and that establishes a contractual relationship

    Even a verbal agreement results in a contractual relationship - something that any organisation involving volunteers needs to be wary of

    However, Mr S needs to do a bit of research before shooting from the hip because it's well established with plenty of authoritative guidance as to when a volunteer can (rarely) and cannot (commonly) claim unfair dismissal

    To claim unfair dismissal, a volunteer has to be in all respects performing a role that is effectively unpaid full time or part time employment. Crucially, they have to be contractually obliged to work set hours and/or set duties, they have to make holiday requests which can be turned down etc.

    If a volunteer can choose whether or not they're available at any given time and/or can declare themselves unavailable for any period of time without hindrance that immediately disqualifies them from making an unfair dismissal claim (this is Third Sector Volunteer Agreements 101 stuff - when drafting volunteer agreements you make damn sure you DON'T create an employment relationship if you can possibly help it)

    Note that a requirement to turn up for a set number of training days or to volunteer for a minimum number of hours per year does not establish employment status if the volunteer van freely choose when to give of their time

    Nor does a requirement to follow procedures, complete tasks, attend for the hours agreed on a rota etc establish employment status if the attendance is genuinely voluntary
    Sorry, there is no contractual arrangement in law for volunteers. A volunteer agreement, which as you state most volunteers will sign with their organisation, does not form a contract legally.

    Volunteer agreements have no legal enforceability in the courts in the U.K.

    They may prescribe standards of expected behaviour, but these cannot be legally enforced, and the only recourse to not upholding those behaviours for either the volunteer or the organisation is to end the relationship.

  7. #57
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    Default Re: Veteran coastguards sacked for rescuing car from cliff edge

    I wouldn't want to be a volunteer in an organisation, in a branch which is primarily there to help people in trouble, where the "authorities" actively prevent their volunteers from doing their job of helping people.

  8. #58
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    Default Re: Veteran coastguards sacked for rescuing car from cliff edge

    I got fed up with this thread so had a google at what the gov.uk thinks ....
    Volunteers' rights

    You do not have a contract of employment as a volunteer, so you do not have the same rights as an employee or worker.

    You will usually be given a volunteer agreement that explains:

    the level of supervision and support you’ll get
    what training you’ll get
    whether you’re covered under the organisation’s employer or public liability insurance
    health and safety issues
    any expenses the organisation will cover

    The volunteer agreement is not compulsory, but sets out what you can expect from the organisation you’re volunteering for. It does not form a contract between you and the organisation.

  9. #59
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    Default Re: Veteran coastguards sacked for rescuing car from cliff edge

    Quote Originally Posted by awol View Post
    I got fed up with this thread so had a google at what the gov.uk thinks ....
    That is a correct statement of the facts. The issue is that some organisations have employed volunteers who actually turned out not to be volunteers at all because it can be an easy line to cross.

    For example, if I were a volunteer for an organisation and, in order to ensure that they always had guaranteed cover when they needed it, the organisation decided to define certain times when it would be expected that I would make myself available, then the line has arguably been crossed and a Tribunal might well consider me to be a worker which would give me some legal protection that a volunteer would not enjoy.

    Richard

  10. #60
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    Default Re: Veteran coastguards sacked for rescuing car from cliff edge

    The MCA’s loss will be the NCI’s gain, methinks.

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