Navy's $80,000 bonus to keep sailors

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CarlLinkenbagh
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Navy's $80,000 bonus to keep sailors

Postby CarlLinkenbagh » 22 Sep 2011 15:09

Navy's $80,000 bonus to keep sailors
Cameron Stewart From: The Australian September 22, 2011 12:00AM

THE Navy has been forced to offer an unprecedented $80,000 bonus to engineers on its submarines and Anzac-class frigates to stop them being poached by cashed-up mining companies.

The move will lead to some non-officer submariners being paid up to $177,000 a year, almost as much as an experienced submarine commander, in a move the navy privately concedes could cause tension in the ranks.

The bonuses of between $40,000 and $80,000 will be paid over two years to 200 selected non-officer marine technicians "who possess key operator qualifications" in return for two years' service. The Australian understands the drastic step was taken after the navy concluded the shortage of qualified engineers was so grave it threatened the ability to put some submarines and Anzac-class frigates to sea.

A Department of Defence spokesperson said the bonus, announced internally to navy personnel this week, was aimed at easing "critical" workforce issues.

"Each workgroup is facing critical personnel shortfalls at both rank and qualification levels, with high and increasing separation rates that are impacting on navy's ability to deliver Anzac and Collins capability," the spokesperson said.

In particular, the navy is anxious to stem an exodus of engineers, who are being offered big pay to work for mining companies wanting their technical skills. "The mining boom is part of the broader economy's demand for skilled workers, which continues to impact on the navy's capacity to retain highly skilled engineers," the spokesperson said.

The navy says the bonus payments will be targeted at those marine technicians who have the abilities to operate the propulsion systems of specific submarines and Anzac frigates. "The bonus being offered is up to $80,000 in return for two years' service for the highest qualification level down to $40,000 for two years' return of service for the lowest qualification level, in two one-year increments of $20,000," the navy spokesperson said.

This means some chief petty officer marine technicians on a submarine who are a grade 10 with more than 11 years' service would have their current pay package ($137,000 including all bonuses) increased by $40,000 to $177,000 a year for the next two years.

A recently graduated able seaman marine technician on a submarine would potentially have the current salary package ($84,000 including bonuses) increased by $40,000 to $124,000 for the next two years.

By comparison, an experienced submarine commander with more than 11 years of service gets a total salary package of $191,000.

Navy headquarters is believed to have warned commanders this week the large bonuses would have the potential to upset those who did not qualify for them, including officers and marine technicians on other navy vessels.

In February, The Australian reported the findings of an internal 2009 navy report that found naval engineering had reached a critical low point, with "cancerous" morale problems, a massive shortfall in numbers and a broken management system.

"The current situation has an urgency and a criticality that cannot be overstated," said the November 2009 report on the strategic review of naval engineering.

"Navy is potentially exposed due to the poor state of engineering policy should there be further accidents."
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Re: Navy's $80,000 bonus to keep sailors

Postby RussF172 » 22 Sep 2011 23:43

Tempted Carl???? That will cause some fights amoungst the pidgeons. That's a lot of money to offer. All these guys leaving the service to enter the mining boom. What happens when/if the boom crashes which I have heard may happen. They'll be like all the guys here in town who worked at the big timber mill (largest soft wook mill in the southern hemisphere) and where quite happy working away here in our sleepy little town. They had three shifts on (24 hours per day 7 days per week) and all of a sudden the rug gets pulled with the import of cheaper timber. They have let go almost 100 people (over 1/3rd of the workforce there) in the past month or so. More are expected to go soon. It is really knocking the town around as most of them have to leave town to find work so they take the family with them.
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CarlLinkenbagh
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Re: Navy's $80,000 bonus to keep sailors

Postby CarlLinkenbagh » 23 Sep 2011 08:57

No Russ, although I would be entitled to it (based on my Anzac quals and experience), I'm not tempted at all.

This is not really the appropriate place to "vent" my personal reasons why. If you'd like to know my thoughts on it - ask me when we catch up next and I'll tell you all about it. But I will say that there are justifiable reasons for the "exodus of engineers" - and I honestly think that money, while it is obviously very important, is only a small part of the equation for most people.

Paying these bonuses is not going to solve the root causes of the reasons that MT sailors in particular are leaving the Navy. Throwing absurd amounts of money at us for an extra couple of years might work in the short term - but until they are prepared to listen to people and make changes with positive and observable results, it isn't going to make much of a difference in the long run.

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