Forces Redundancy Injustice – Overview
The Issue: A small group of service personnel, with substantial years of service and operational tours, were given notice of compulsorily redundancy in June 2012, close to their entitlement to an immediate pension, some within days. As a consequence they are losing out on immediate pension payments worth thousands of pounds over a lifetime.
How many service personnel does this issue affect in total? The number of service personnel affected is relatively small, approx 55-92 in total. However, these numbers are set to get bigger in the coming cuts, where 8000 – 10000 more troops will be made redundant, many more soldiers and their families could be affected…. if the Government fails to act.
Reasons why the Government needs to address this issue:
This Governemnt has worked hard to enshrine the Armed Forces Covenant into Law. It has vowed to work towards achieving and acting on the observations made by the External Covenant Reference Group in the First Armed Forces Covenant Annual Report, published in Dec 2012. In that report the External Covenant Reference Group made up of respected verterans groups and academics, including: COBSEO, RBL, SSAFA, WWA and Professor Hew Strachan state: Following compulsory redundancy announcements:
“Some personnel have been maderedundant mere days before they would have been entitled to immediate pensions by virtue of length of service. This has understandably ….led to a sense of betrayal of the spirit, if not the precise terms, of the Armed Forces Covenant among those affected…… the government should carefully examine how it can avoid a repeat of such circumstances in future rounds of redundancies …..and review how it can restore pension rights to those who have been disadvantaged so far.” (p16 Armed Forces Covenant Annual Report 2012)
Without acting to solve this issue the Government is failing to uphold the values and standards by which these forces pesonnel have served. Trust is crucial when your job involves putting your life on the line. Furthermore this sends out a negative and demoralising message to the armed forces and their dependants:
a) Operational tours, professional enthusiasm and the oft proclaimed Military Covenant count for nothing.
b) Financial and professional costs – to both soldier and spouse when they assume / resume civilian employment – are no longer off-set
c) Separation and disadvantage are no longer compensated with financial security
d) Personal and professional plans cannot now be founded upon the legitimate expectation of an Immediate Pension
e) The British Army’s morale and reputation is being damaged on a far wider scale than just the small number of redundees affected (see MoD Survey, 23 August 2012 indicating Officers more dispirited than rest of army – almost 2/3 of senior officers rated morale as low, up by 38% to 62% since 2010)
What we are requesting:
1) That the Government acknowledge the problem.
2) That it is unfair to these servicemen and their families, and potentially many others, to leave this issue unchanged.
3) That the Governement fully and fairly compensate those made compulsorily redundant for the loss of their immediate pensions and to take the immediate pension into consideration when making service personnel redundant in future rounds of cuts, thereby restoring morale and safeguarding the reputation and standing of HM Armed Forces.
We believe the government would not deliberately wish to deny its long serving and committed service men and women the immediate pensions they were promised, have earned and deserve. Armed Forces salaries are abated to take into account pension costs, so service personnel have a valid reason to feel they have been contributing towards this payment.
The moral obligation to now honour the promise of an immediate pension – on which these men and women have justifiable expectation, and which they believed was part of their pay and conditions and for which they risked their lives – is a compelling one.
Why we need the public to write to their MPs about this:
The service men and women are unable to speak out as they are still serving. They have no unions to represent them or federation. They rely totally on the Chain of Command and MPs & Minsiters to look after their best interests. Clearly in these cases this has not happened. We believe there has been some kind of mistake or oversight in the way the redundancy scheme and pension scheme interacts. Mistakes can be rectified.
That is why we are calling for a review to ensure all soldiers close to pension point made redundant are fully and fairly compensated for the loss of their pensions. We need your support to help get these redundancies reviewed and a fair and just solution found. Please sign the Parliamentary e-petition and help stop this happening to other servicemen and women and their families.
ONE SERVICEMAN or WOMAN losing out on the pension they have earned and deserve is ONE SERVICEMAN or WOMAN too many.
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