Defence unions call for ‘civilian covenant’


Defence unions call for ‘civilian covenant’

Trade unions at the Ministry of Defence have launched a campaign for the adoption of a civilian covenant for all defence civilian staff within the department.

Representatives from the unions: Prospect, GMB, PCS and Unite will mark the first day of new MOD Permanent Secretary, Ursula Brennan’s tenure by presenting her with a proposed civilian covenant.

Prospect national secretary Steve Jary said: “MOD civil servants face numerous pressures created by the intensity of military operations and pressures on the defence budget and on civilian numbers.

“They have been reviewed and restructured to the point of exhaustion and the Strategic Defence and Security Review and further Treasury-inspired cuts now confront them with a pay freeze, attacks on their terms and conditions and the loss of one in three jobs, coupled with the spectre of compulsory redundancies.”

The unions want a civilian covenant on similar lines to the military covenant. This would set out the two-way commitment between the armed forces and the civilian staff who support them.

It would cement the psychological contract that MOD civilians already have to defence and to the armed forces. And it would help mitigate the dramatic impact of the cuts on morale.

The Prime Minister announced in the SDSR that MOD‘s civilian workforce would be cut by 25,000 – from 85,000 today to 60,000 by 2015. In 1997 the figure was 105,000.