'Unpensionables' call for redundancy review
24 August 2012
Relatives of army personnel being made redundant months before becoming eligible for early payments as part of their armed forces pension are calling on the government to reconsider its redundancy policy.
The army has already seen two tranches of redundancies as a result of cuts made in 2010's Strategic Defence and Security Review, but a third and fourth are expected as the MoD looks to reduce the number of regular soldiers by 20,000 by 2020.
It has been suggested that as many as 80 of the personnel already made redundant have been within 12 months of qualifying for an early pension payment, leading to suggestions the government had "ripped up" the military covenant.
The relatives of the soldiers and officers affected, calling their serving family members 'The Unpensionables', are campaigning on behalf of the troops who are missing pension payments due to redundancy but are not allowed to talk publicly while they are still serving.
A petition on the government's own e-petitions website
has been set up by Jayne Bullock, 48, whose brother is a Major in the British Army. Her brother was made compulsorily redundant just 82 days before he would have completed 16 years' service, as a result of the second wave of job cuts.
"If this isn't tackled now, and the issue isn't reviewed, there are going to be many more 'unpensionables'," Bullock told The Times. "The aim of this campaign is to get a review of these redundancies. We think there has been a mistake, perhaps, in how the process of redundancies has been set up. It could be a genuine oversight, in which case I am sure Mr Hammond will want to put it right."
Shadow Defence Secretary Jim Murphy said the redundancies were a "cold-hearted" way of cutting personnel who were likely to have served multiple tours in Afghanistan in recent years.
"While these experienced personnel were planning for their pensions, the government was planning to sack them.It is a shabby and shoddy way to end so many distinguished military careers," he said.
"The government must now publish all details of the redundancy criteria along with how many members of the armed forces have been made redundant within a year of receiving their pension."
In June the Ministry of Defence denied that it had deliberately made a number of serving officers redundant just days before they qualified for full pensions.
An MoD spokesman said that a serviceman or woman's length of service was not a consideration in the redundancy process.