Part-time soldiers to fight MoD for pensions

Members of Britain's 40,000-strong Territorial Army could all become entitled to military pensions after a landmark claim being brought against the Ministry of Defence by soldiers who served in the Gulf War and Balkans conflict.

The test case, brought by 10 part-time servicemen and women, could cost the Government millions of pounds in compensation.

The claimants allege they have been denied pensions even though they believed they had contributed to the Army Pension Fund from their part-time salaries.

If they win their case at the employment tribunal in London next year, the MoD would no longer be able to deny part-time servicemen and women the right to retirement payouts.

Fox Hayes, the Leeds law firm representing the soldiers, said yesterday: "We have lodged a complaint against the MoD after discovering that despite serving up to 126 days each year, including service in the Balkans and Gulf War and even though the Army led them to believe they were paying into the Army Pension Fund from their military salaries, their service entitles them to no Army pension rights upon retirement."

The case is being fought under the laws of sex discrimination and equal pay for part-time workers, and is likely to embarrass the Government. Last month ministers announced a campaign to recruit thousands more part-time soldiers, sailors and airmen. The recruitment drive was launched after Geoff Hoon, the Defence Secretary, admitted that the Government had made a mistake in cutting the Territorial Army by more than a quarter in the 1998 Strategic Defence Review. He said that, in the aftermath of 11 September, he was glad that the TA had not been fully cut from its previous strength of 56,000 to the 41,200 set by the review.

Michael Morse, a partner at Fox Hayes, said: "Men and women in the TA have been led to believe that they are an integral part of the modern British Army and in return they make a huge commitment. Their job titles and roles are no different from regular service men personnel, and many become senior officers with regulars serving under them. Now it seems the MoD is telling them that they are only playing weekend warrior after all."

He said that the MoD had even denied that TA members were protected by part-time legislation, yet the Army's own website referred to them as part-time.

"A commitment of up to and over 100 days' paid service for your country each year for up to 40 years in some cases should at least bring this much recognition," he added.

One of the claimants, Danny Connor, a retired TA member who was in the 102 (Clyde) Air Support Squadron of the Royal Engineers (Volunteers), said yesterday: "After dedicating over 20 years of my life to the TA and having my Army pay docked for the value of a pension the MoD has just turned around and said 'cheerio' without giving anything back. A lot of my colleagues who have served in the TA also feel this is an injustice, especially when the Government has changed the law to entitle civilian part-time workers to holiday pay, sick pay and pensions."

The legal action is being backed by the Gulf War Veterans Association. Shaun Rustling, chairman of the organisation, said: "It is time the Government realised that its part-time staff should get the same rights as civilian part-time staff, and implement proper pension rights.

"Many of these servicemen and women give up to 50 hours a week to the TA – how that cannot be regarded as part-time, I do not know."

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
News
Disruption at Waterloo after a person was hit by a train
newsCancellations and disrupted service after person hit by train
Arts and Entertainment
music
Arts and Entertainment
The almost deserted Liverpool Echo Arena on Monday
tvCan X Factor last in the face of plummeting numbers auditioning
News
Kirsty Bertarelli is launching a singing career with an album of songs detailing her observations of “real life”
news
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooks
ebooksA special investigation by Andy McSmith
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Photographer / Floorplanner / Domestic Energy Assessor

£16000 - £25000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A Photographer/ Floor planner /...

Ashdown Group: Front-End Developer - Surrey - £40,000

£30000 - £40000 per annum: Ashdown Group: Front-End Developer - Guildford/Craw...

Recruitment Genius: Customer Service Assistant

£13500 - £15000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A Customer Service Assistant is...

Recruitment Genius: Sales Executive - OTE £35,000

£16000 - £35000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: An ambitious and motivated Sale...

Day In a Page

Not even the 'putrid throat' could stop the Ross Poldark swoon-fest'

Not even the 'putrid throat' could stop the Ross Poldark swoon-fest'

How a costume drama became a Sunday night staple
Miliband promises no stamp duty for first-time buyers as he pushes Tories on housing

Miliband promises no stamp duty for first-time buyers

Labour leader pushes Tories on housing
Aviation history is littered with grand failures - from the the Bristol Brabazon to Concorde - but what went wrong with the SuperJumbo?

Aviation history is littered with grand failures

But what went wrong with the SuperJumbo?
Fear of Putin, Islamists and immigration is giving rise to a new generation of Soviet-style 'iron curtains' right across Europe

Fortress Europe?

Fear of Putin, Islamists and immigration is giving rise to a new generation of 'iron curtains'
Never mind what you're wearing, it's what you're reclining on

Never mind what you're wearing

It's what you're reclining on that matters
General Election 2015: Chuka Umunna on the benefits of immigration, humility – and his leader Ed Miliband

Chuka Umunna: A virus of racism runs through Ukip

The shadow business secretary on the benefits of immigration, humility – and his leader Ed Miliband
Yemen crisis: This exotic war will soon become Europe's problem

Yemen's exotic war will soon affect Europe

Terrorism and boatloads of desperate migrants will be the outcome of the Saudi air campaign, says Patrick Cockburn
Marginal Streets project aims to document voters in the run-up to the General Election

Marginal Streets project documents voters

Independent photographers Joseph Fox and Orlando Gili are uploading two portraits of constituents to their website for each day of the campaign
Game of Thrones: Visit the real-life kingdom of Westeros to see where violent history ends and telly tourism begins

The real-life kingdom of Westeros

Is there something a little uncomfortable about Game of Thrones shooting in Northern Ireland?
How to survive a social-media mauling, by the tough women of Twitter

How to survive a Twitter mauling

Mary Beard, Caroline Criado-Perez, Louise Mensch, Bunny La Roche and Courtney Barrasford reveal how to trounce the trolls
Gallipoli centenary: At dawn, the young remember the young who perished in one of the First World War's bloodiest battles

At dawn, the young remember the young

A century ago, soldiers of the Empire – many no more than boys – spilt on to Gallipoli’s beaches. On this 100th Anzac Day, there are personal, poetic tributes to their sacrifice
Dissent is slowly building against the billions spent on presidential campaigns – even among politicians themselves

Follow the money as never before

Dissent is slowly building against the billions spent on presidential campaigns – even among politicians themselves, reports Rupert Cornwell
Samuel West interview: The actor and director on austerity, unionisation, and not mentioning his famous parents

Samuel West interview

The actor and director on austerity, unionisation, and not mentioning his famous parents
General Election 2015: Imagine if the leading political parties were fashion labels

Imagine if the leading political parties were fashion labels

Fashion editor, Alexander Fury, on what the leaders' appearances tell us about them
Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka: Home can be the unsafest place for women

Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka: Home can be the unsafest place for women

The architect of the HeForShe movement and head of UN Women on the world's failure to combat domestic violence