Thursday, 3 February 2011

By Catherine Spencer, AFF Director Communications

W/c 1 February 2011

It’s been a very busy week at AFF since a concerned soldier faxed us a copy of the DASA Continuity of Education Allowance (CEA) survey last Thursday. He was rightly shocked at the suggestions it contained. We immediately placed a warning on our website and asked people to ‘exercise extreme caution’ when completing it. AFF has been busy liaising with senior command over your views. We know that many of you have boycotted the survey due to the absurd ‘choices’ it offers.

We’ve been overwhelmed with response, mainly from serving personnel. It seems that our soldiers have had enough. Pension cuts, pay freezes, redundancies, allowance cuts, and now a badly communicated, poorly constructed CEA survey with seemingly sly questions, which have resulted in a deluge of comments telling AFF just how let down you feel.

Is it any surprise that soldiers are seriously questioning how much they are valued when the cuts we are being asked to endure are so deep? It seems that the uncompromising, sustained operational tempo has quietly been forgotten along with the promises of the Armed Forces Covenant, the nation's agreement to look after its soldiers, which lies in tatters, gathering dust in the ‘to do’ tray.

Soldiers and their families talk of betrayal and many have said that they would have left years ago had they known what was coming. The sad fact is that with no trade union to fight their corner, our soldiers are an easy target for cut backs.

We know that senior command are very aware of the lack of morale currently sweeping through the Forces and are listening to us. They understand that you don’t have to cut allowances on the frontline for the frontline to be affected. The promise that operations in Afghanistan will be protected from cuts is meaningless. Comments and enquiries we’ve been receiving demonstrate that morale everywhere is at an all time low. Soldiers and their families struggle to cope with financial pressures from all sides. It’s not just the money though, it’s that feeling that the Government is quickly forgetting the ten years of hard fighting, fatalities and casualties that soldiers and families continue to suffer, as they ask why it is that they must bear the brunt of the pain caused by other people’s financial mismanagement.

AFF will continue to highlight your concerns to senior command and the Government.

So if you want to add your views, email us in confidence at feedback@aff.org.uk

We say what you can‘t say, to the right people, to make sure your voice is heard.

6 comments:

  1. Thank you AFF for all your hard work on this.

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  2. This the first time in the 27 Years I have served that it feels like I have received a Pay Cut!! I have in my time seen plenty of changes to the size of the Army, Options For Change,the reduction of the size of the Army in mid 2000s etc. But this is the first time that it has ever felt personal and at a time when we are fighting harder than ever! I truly feel let down by a Government that I thought understood the Armed Forces. It must be so easy to kick you while your down and while you do not have a voice! Is this some twisted plan to get soldiers to leave voluntarily so they do not have to pay out redundancies and save they more money.

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  3. Welcome to the AFF blog!

    Feedback is important so thank you for taking the time to post.

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  4. Keep up the efforts AFF, you are doing a great job. I agree with anonymous above. I can not believe how our Armed Forces are being treated, after what have been some of the hardest years for us in living memory. the Government either does not realise, or does not care about, the extent to which people feel betrayed and used. To expect our brave men and women to work ever harder and then not only to freeze pay but to cut it, and then to add additional uncertainty to family life by threatening CEA cuts and making pensions cuts. Everyone I know is asking 'what is the point'? It is unfair, cowardly and wrong. the armed forces are an easy target because of the lack of unions etc - are the same cuts being made to the MOD civil servants ? - I don't think so because that would never be accepted by their unions. Please everyone, write to your MPs, contact AFF, do what you can to voice your opinions. We are all too good at putting up with stuff that others would not, but this is a step too far, we can not let them get away with it.

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  5. Many thanks for your comments which have been read and noted.

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  6. I agree with anonymous, I too do feel absolutely betrayed and let down by the government. after all these cuts, pay freeze etc now comes another blow of being made redundant!! what is the point in joining and continuing in army and putting your life at the forefront, going to wars to protect everyone else in home. Instead of appreciating what forces has done to this country all these cuts and redundancy announcement feels like a slap on the face. I am really disgusted by how government is treating us - espcially the minority - "the gurkhas" :(

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