Wednesday, 20 June 2012

Soldiers sacked close to retirement

BFTF found his blood boiling as he read an article in the Telegraph that described how soliders were being made redundant very close to their retirement dates - resulting in their pensions being put back by decades. Two quotes from the story will suffice to explain the nature of what is being done :

"...One 40-year-old sergeant serving in the Royal Electrical and Mechanical Engineers was only three days away from serving 22 years and qualifying for an immediate pension pot worth £108,000. He will now have to wait until he is 65 to receive the pension..."

"...Diana and Barry Payne said their son, Richard, a major, had been sacked just 86 days short of 16 years’ service that included “life-threatening” operational tours of Afghanistan, Iraq, Kosovo and Northern Ireland....To deny him a pension so close to qualifying is not only underhand, but undermines the ethos on which the Army supposedly prides itself."

BFTF sent an email to the local conservative party mentioning the above and adding that
"this was heartless behaviour and that, even if the soldiers were not needed in their currnet roles they should have been given other duties for the short time until their planned retirement. It would seem to me, and perhaps to any other fair-minded person, that no soldier should be made redundant once they are within, say, two years of their planned retirement date. My question to you is very simple. Do you agree? and if so what representation are you going to make to government to stop this happening?"

UPDATE : 27 Jun 12
Received a rather prompt response from Nottingham Conservatives saying that the head of the local group would be "writing to Patrick Mercer, MP for Newark. . . , a former British Army Colonel with parliamentary experience of defence affairs".

UPDATE : 08 Sep 12
Chased up local Conservatives as no response received yet from Patrick Mercer M on tihs issue.

UPDATE : 30 Nov 12
The local Conservative party, who had (BFTF understands) chased up for a response from Government on a number of occasions have provided this response from Andrew Robathan MP, Minister of State for the Armed Forces:

“The Army will always seek, subject to service need, to select personnel who apply to leave on redundancy as a priority to minimise the impact on individuals. In both the first and second tranche of the redundancy programme two thirds of those selected were applicants.

In order to ensure that the redundancy programme is fair to all involved, clear and objective selection criteria were drawn up, including such things as rank, arm, length of service and career employment group in areas where a surplus of Army manpower exists. The proximity to an individual’s immediate pension point was not a redundancy selection criteria. This is because selection based on proximity to pension point would stand to compromise the future structure of the Army and it would lead to a less fair selection process.

I hope you will appreciate that the fields from which redundancies were drawn were the areas in which there is a surplus of manpower forecast against future structures. As a result, it is possible that some soldiers and officers will be made redundant before they reach their Immediate Pension Point (IPP), the stage at which they become eligible for an annual income on retirement. Regrettably, wherever the line is drawn, there will be those who fall short of it. Those leaving immediately prior to their IPP receive a larger redundancy compensation lump sum to reflect the loss of future annual income, and will still receive a deferred pension at age 60 or 65 depending on the pension scheme to which they belong.

Finally, the Armed Forces Covenant promises fair treatment for the Armed Forces Community and has established two key principles, that the Armed Forces Community should face no disadvantage compared to other citizens in the provision of public and commercial services, and that special consideration is appropriate in some cases especially for the injured and bereaved. MOD considers terms and conditions of service and the impact of changes in defence as part of that fair treatment – as explained in the context of the selection criteria above – and has committed to ensure changes in defence are managed in a way which treats individuals fairly and minimises uncertainty wherever possible.”

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