TA sacked sunday mirror sun 08 oct

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#1
http://www.sundaymirror.co.uk/news/...objectid=17890945&siteid=62484-name_page.html

8 October 2006
HEROES SACKED
By Rupert Hamer Defence Correspondent, Rory Smith And Simon Wright
VOLUNTEER soldiers are being sacked from their day jobs while away fighting on the frontline in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Few of Britain's Territorial Army reservists expected to be called up to active service when they volunteered as part-time soldiers.

But chronic troop shortages mean more than 13,000 have been sent to Iraq and Afghanistan since 2001. And a Sunday Mirror investigation today reveals that around 100 have returned to Britain from their tour of duty fighting for their country to find they have been sacked by their employers.

Last night a TA officer said: "We are looking at more than 100 sackings. That is disgraceful. The attitude of some employers has caused us real problems. Often, when a TA soldier threatens legal action or press coverage they will back down - but by then the damage is done and we have lost them. They won't come back again."

Territorial volunteers usually combine occasional weekend military training with full-time jobs completely unconnected to the Army. Among those called up to fight in Iraq have been accountants, bus drivers, double-glazing salesmen and engineers.

When they fight alongside regular troops, facing death and bloodshed every day, their jobs back home are meant to be kept open for them on their return. It is the least the soldiers - who come from all walks of civilian life - should expect.


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Of the 100 or so dumped by their firms, 29 have had to launch costly legal battles in an attempt to get their jobs back.


They are the tip of the iceberg, according to experts, who fear dozens more have been made to suffer for their patriotism.


Many haven't had the time, money or know-how to fight their sackings. Or they have found themselves unable to raise industrial tribunal claims because of red-tape.


Others have been passed over for promotion or missed out on pay rises while they have been away.


Their shoddy treatment is in marked contrast to America, where firms actively reward staff prepared to go overseas and fight for their country.


Today, we reveal the staggering individual stories of "weekend warriors" betrayed by their employers after fighting abroad.


They are among the 13,000 reservists who have been mobilised for duty since the War on Terror began in 2001 - the vast majority being sent to Iraq.


Four have paid with their lives - and three times that many injured, including one soldier who lost an eye.


Engineer Kevin Mervin, 40, paid a heavy price for his six-week stint in Iraq with the 2nd Royal Tank Regiment.


Dad-of-three Kevin, of Kettering, Northants, was sacked and his marriage ended under the strain of trying to survive on benefits and credit card debts.


And another father-of-three, electrical engineer Steven Spence, 40, of East Kilbride, Lanarkshire, was shocked to return from Iraq with a knee injury to find his post had been made "redundant" while someone else was doing his job.


But without the TA, military chiefs admit our campaigns in Iraq and Afghanistan, in addition to Britain's commitments in Bosnia and Kosovo, would have been impossible.


In theory, British law prevents an employer sacking a reservist because they are in the TA.


And under the Reserve Forces (Safeguard of Employment) Act 1985, once servicemen or women have returned from duty their bosses are, on paper, obliged to give them back their jobs.


But the protection does not apply to people who have had jobs for fewer than 13 weeks.


And other red-tape and legal loopholes mean that employers are often able to get away with sacking TA soldiers - despite their supposed legal protection.


The TA officer added: "It is hard enough for the TA guys without those kinds of problems. Iraq is hardly a popular war and the reservists don't get much public acknowledgement.


"If there are grumbles at work and they feel marginalised, then even if it is not as serious as losing their job, it means they just leave the Territorials - causing shortages."


Those who serve a full-time stint in the TA will get at least 75 per cent of their civilian pay from the Army.


It is up to the individual firm to continue making up the difference while they are away.


The forces will also provide some extra pay if the cost of mortgages or other unavoidable outgoings are not covered by their Army wage. Employers are also able to claim compensation for some losses incurred by being an employee short.


Last night the director of SABRE - the Ministry of Defence support group for reservists - pledged to offer full "legal protection" to troops against "rogue employers".


Spokesman Tim Corry said: "Most employers are incredibly supportive of any members of staff who are mobilised.


"When problems do arise it is usually because employers aren't aware of how much support and advice is available for them from the MoD, including financial assistance.


"Of course, there are a few rogue employers and it is quite right that - when necessary - reservists have the legal protection they deserve."


-SABRE has a website www.sabre.mod.uk and a helpline 0800 389 5459.


Are you a TA soldier who has been sacked after coming home from Iraq or Afghanistan? Call us free on 0800 289441 from 10am to 6pm or email scoops@sundaymirror.co.uk


news@sundaymirror.co.uk
Just found this the story has been done before but has been picked up on again in the light of recent questions and benefits for deployed troops.
 
#2
Before my last stint of mobilised service I was working for Hampshire Library service. When I forst heard I was to be called up I informed my line manager and she inofrmed the area manager. The area manager started phoning my TA unit, kicking up a fuss and making life difficult even though I was not in a key post. Then the hard times began, very hard times, insults, crap jobs, even being stripped of my staff library card in front of members of the public.

The manager even asked how likely it was that I would get killed so she could advertise my post! Then insisted everything that not only I but my wife and children had out on loan was returned and their library cards made invalid. All in public.

In the end I decided not to go back. I was forced out but not sacked so SABRE could not be involved.

I have talked to many reservists who have had similar experiences but unless its a simple case of being sacked or your an officer they (SABRE) dont want to take up the cause, your simply advised to get another job.

On the other side of the coing TA/Reserve Forces membership can be a barrier to even getting a job. On leaving university in 2001 I applied for many posts and had many interviews all were pleased with my BA and my TA/Military experience but without exception all required that I leave the TA if offered the job, I refused every time. Many of these employers were defence contractors, others government organisations.

So being shafted as a member of the TA is very much part of the course, the MOD (pensions etc), Army (stupid bloody insults) , TA (not standing up for the guys) and employers all lining up to slip on in when your back is turned.

But we do it anyway.

Regards
Cardinal
 
#3
OK Mr Blair, time to do something for those that have been stitched up while doing your dirty work, ... oh sorry, I forgot, you are not allowed to mention Iraq to him are you.
 
#4
Cardinal said:
Before my last stint of mobilised service I was working for Hampshire Library service. When I forst heard I was to be called up I informed my line manager and she inofrmed the area manager. The area manager started phoning my TA unit, kicking up a fuss and making life difficult even though I was not in a key post. Then the hard times began, very hard times, insults, crap jobs, even being stripped of my staff library card in front of members of the public.

The manager even asked how likely it was that I would get killed so she could advertise my post! Then insisted everything that not only I but my wife and children had out on loan was returned and their library cards made invalid. All in public.

In the end I decided not to go back. I was forced out but not sacked so SABRE could not be involved.
No, but you could argue a claim of constructive dismissal, couldn't you?

FF.
 
#6
Problem is Blair doesnt give a f*** about the TA, he and his cronnies dont care also about the regulars. So doing ftrs is playing into Tony's hands! Unless its solely for yourself of course? Im at not representing Tony Baloney Blair's Government anymore. 7 years regs and done short 2 years TA. Called it a day with family and kids ENDEX! No one gives a damn about serving or ex service personnel in this country!
 
#7
Cardinal.

The behaviour you describe is unacceptable
and public service employers- like County Councils-
do take staff complaints seriously.
That manager has serious problems and needs sorting.
I'm sorry mate you made a wrong call,
you should have reported it to the HR department
and not just taken the cr*p.
 
#8
It is now time to name and shame all of the employers that dole out this type of unacceptable behaviour to TA personnel.

Sometimes I am amazed at the lack of balls that employers showtowards reservist personnel. It beggars belief :?

Cardinal, best of luck to you for the future and I personally hope that you are both happy and safe as FTRS.


fastmedic
 
#9
Friendly_Fire said:
No, but you could argue a claim of constructive dismissal, couldn't you?

FF.
Constructive dismissal is very difficult to prove, and at the end of the day if you're forced to resign then it's not considered as dismissal.
 
#10
It's not just those who are already serving that find their employers hard work. As a full time student I have a job with semi flexible hours, when I get my timetable for the term they take down the hours and work my hours for them around that mon - fri (already told them I couldn't do weekends and for 4 years they've never had a problem with this). I had told them at the start of term of my intention to join the TA and they were not happy from the start. When they finally gave me hours they were all weekend shifts and evenings, I argued that they knew I couldn't do them due to not only TA but my kids too. I was told the TA was my decision and that if I managed to work weekends for that then i could for them. I'm still in the process of arguing my case but I'm basically getting told 'we offered you the hours, it's up to you whether you take them or not' knowing full well I have to for not only a wage but for WFTC too.

The truth is it doesnt matter what the law says or how vital the TA is, employers are in it for themselves and will more often than not find a way around the rules to discourage their employees joining... or is that just my experience flawing my theory?
 
#11
The_Green_Manalishi said:
Friendly_Fire said:
No, but you could argue a claim of constructive dismissal, couldn't you?

FF.
Constructive dismissal is very difficult to prove, and at the end of the day if you're forced to resign then it's not considered as dismissal.
If you're forced to resign due to the employer's behaviour is this not exactly the time you can argue constructive dismissal? Though maybe best to just walk away with your head up if you can, as Cardinal did.
 
#12
Seriously though, is anyone at all surprised ? Firms are run like, well a business. The effect on the bottom line is all that matters. Not that this is necessarily a bad thing, I don't want my employer to go bust and leave me unemployed and I want the shares my pension is based on to do well.

When someone gets mobilised today their employer loses money. The law in this area is pitifully weak (compare to that relating to pregnant women of you don't believe me) so the solution is simple, sack the soldier. And there's nothing at all to prevent you from refusing to hire any more.

The solution is simple - make it cost neutral or even a benefit to the employer, and/or give the legislation real teeth. But I don't see either option on the horizon. Instead, all we get is SABRE and a bunch of civil servants - people with generally less business experience than the 17 year old work experience office trainee - waffling on at hard nosed businessmen about why they should be glad they're losing money to prop up Government underfunding of Defence.
 
#13
Cardinal said:
In the end I decided not to go back. I was forced out but not sacked so SABRE could not be involved.
You could get the key details and dates together and construct a letter to your local MP, and the opposition party in your area. It may not get very far but if your MP is sympathetic, or looking for consolidating there position prior to elections, it may be something that they will do something about. I know you've moved on now, but that sort of irresponsible and erratic individual should not be in a position of authority.

Honestly, I'd even be tempted to chat to the local Mayor about this. If it happened in the Leeds, Harrogate or Ripon area, send me a PM and I will. I'm concerned that your ex-manager thinks that they could get away with such abuse.
 
#14
One_of_the_strange said:
The solution is simple - make it cost neutral or even a benefit to the employer, and/or give the legislation real teeth. But I don't see either option on the horizon.
Your replacement can be paid up to £40k above your salary, at the MoD's expense. The employer can claim for retraining etc. If it is managed properly it could be beneficial to the employer even with the current rules.
 
#15
Cardinal,

Fck me, your story makes my blood boil. I got the old itchy twitchy fists when I read that you were asked how likely it was that you would die, so that your post could be advertised.

Just imagine this. A woman says that she is pregnant and is intending to take maternity leave. Given that pregnancy is risky and attracts a certain probability of death, her line manager asks: "Erm, yeah. Are there any risk factors in your medical history which might increase the chances of your death during labour? Only, we'd like to advertise your job and it would be so much easier to work out whether to get the ball rolling now if we knew how likely it is you'll die."

All frikkin hell would break loose.

Raw emotion aside, the story you tell suggests that you were forced to resign as a consequence of the behaviour of your employer and its employees. As others have correctly pointed out, this amounts to constructive dismissal. Yes, you resign but the law constructs a little fiction that you were dismissed, because of the unfairness of how you were treated.

Although you are probably too late to kick off a legal action in the Employment Tribunal, provided these events happened less than three years ago then you can sue them for breach of contract. There are risks involved in doing so, the main one being that if you lose you pay the other side's costs.

However, it need not get so far. We could have plenty of sweet, Evil revenge for nowt.

If you want, I'd be quite happy to write a stinging letter (on posh letterheaded paper and everything) to your former employer. It would point out that they were very clearly in breach of your employment contract and that if they don't compensate you, you will sue. It would tell the whole story, naming names.

The amount claimed would be reasonably small - basically, whatever you would have earned during your notice period, if you stopped work immediately, plus loss of earnings if you spent time unemployed, plus (possibly) compensation for injury to feelings and that kind of thing.

But compensation would not be the main aim. The aim would be to alert your former employer to the fact that this sort of treatment is just not on. A side effect of the letter might be that the people who treated you so badly would get gently honey-roasted for a while. And in the end you could offer to settle if they -

(a) issue you with an apology in writing,

(b) agree to a form of words which they would have to use in any reference about you which they were asked to provide, and

(c) donate £2,000 to Combat Stress / the Royal British Legion or the charity of your choice.

Like I said, I would be delighted to do this for you for nothing. It's how I get my kicks. Plus, as I said, it might highlight the issue and prevent the same from happening to someone else.

Completely separately, it would be worth kicking up a stink on a political level. Write to your MP, of course, but also to your local counsellors and those who have ultimate authority over your former employer (I don't mean God).

Yours, champing at the bit,

Dr E
 
#16
I was recently on a course where there were at least 2 'employment' solicitors. Isn't it high time that the TA looked after itself? Despite everything that we do, Iraq...Afghanistan...Bosnia....Kosovo.... the Govt simply fcku us over, what's the point?

What are Hon Cols doing at these Regts? Don't just take the credit, get off your arse and support your soldiers and Officers
 
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