In the haste to restructure the army, a small group of long-serving, loyal service personnel have been made compulsorily redundant within a whisker of achieving their military pensions and are not being fairly compensated for its loss.
We are a group of former service men and women who, between us, have served in all conflicts the Government has seen fit to send us to, Northern Ireland, Bosnia, Kosovo, Sierra Leone, Iraq and Afghanistan. Our families have supported us through all our service, often with long periods apart. We are now being made redundant just before qualifying for our immediate pensions. It is a betrayal of the loyalty we have shown the Government to be cast aside so close to this significant financial milestone of service.
The military pension is the key financial promise on which service personnel are recruited, retained and promoted. It exists to allow service personnel transition with dignity to civilian life. Calling it a “pension” is really not correct, it is more akin to a resettlement payment. It exists to assist service personnel to transit with dignity to civilian life. It is a promise around which all military families plan their financial future.
Being told you don’t qualify by a matter of days or weeks, as Jolene Anderson, the wife of Sergeant Anderson who was made compulsorily redundant 3 days short of his full pension, said, is like having your heart ripped out. The security we had been promised in return for our service has been snatched away. We have no union to protect us and rely on the very Government to protect our terms of service. Terms which they decide and they can change.
Redundancies are sometimes needed but there should be fair compensation to account for the significant losses incurred for being a few days/weeks short of such a significant financial milestone.
Over 100,000 people joined Jolene Anderson's campaign to save her husband's pension. The MoD responded to say her husband has been successful with a transfer request and the redundancy stalled, so that he will receive his pension.
This is a fantastic result for one family but there are other soldiers who are not in the position to go public, and are being cheated by the Government. That is why we have started this petition.
David Cameron has made commitments to these soldiers as part of the Military Covenant. He said "that those willing to lay down their lives for the country have a right to expect they will be dealt with properly." These loyal service men and women have honoured their side of the Military Covenant, all we ask is that the Government now show the same degree of loyalty and honour.
We are not alone in calling for this injustice to be put right. In the first Armed Forces Covenant Report published last December 2012, the External Covenant Reference Group, made up of respected veterans agencies the Royal British Legion, COBESCO, SSAFA, WWA and military historian Professor Hew Strachan state:
"... Planned reductions in the size of the regular forces have inevitably led to compulsory redundancies and many more are to be announced. Some personnel have been made redundant mere days before they would have been entitled to immediate pensions by virtue of length of service. This has .....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...." They go on to call on the Government to " review how it can restore pension rights to those who have been disadvantaged so far" p16
Please sign this petition if you believe the Prime Minister should uphold the Military Covenant, and ensure the pensions of all service personnel made compulsorily redundant just short of receiving their military pension are restored.