Laid-off defence staff need special consideration

The Defence Force has put an overly positive spin on the laying off of 308 members of the armed forces whose jobs are being “civilianized”.

While recognizing it is “a difficult day for the Defence Force” Lt Gen Rhys Jones claims that those laid off “will welcome the decision” if they have “registered their interest in applying for civilian positions.”

But even if they are lucky enough to get the jobs, it will be minus the housing and other entitlements that military people get.

The Defence Force seems to be treating this as a normal layoff situation, with the military assisting with retraining and the services of chaplains and psychologists.

In fact, it should be treated quite differently. When Kiwis sign up with the Defence Force they give up their right to collective bargain their wages and conditions, and commit themselves to stay for a fixed time.

As a quid pro quo those due for the chop should be first in line for the newly civilianised jobs, and any actual layoffs spaced out, to give time for those affected to find an acceptable outside job. It is not as though the Defence Force will go bankrupt in the meantime.

3 Comments Posted

  1. This is about selling out NZ’s Operational capability and outsourcing our sovereignty to the biggest military industrialist bully on the block…

    Hand over your Lunch Money New Zealand!

    “The contract allows for syndication with other New Zealand agencies, including New Zealand Police, for which Lockheed Martin could also assume warehousing and facilities maintenance work.”

    I say we all email at Lockheed Martin and tell her SCABS are not welcome in New Zealand.

  2. Good call, Keith.
    The Army has been promoting their career-path non-combat jobs under the ‘Arm me with a future’ slogan for so long now that it is a major embarrassment that they are essentially removing these ancilliary positions from uniform so that they can, as you say, cut housing costs for the ‘back room’ positions.
    Those who don’t know what I’m referring to would be advised to look at the Ministry of Defence website, where army careers are listed clearly, or if you’re a parent of a teenager in Wellington, ask your kid.
    All the secondary schools just went to a careers expo in the TSB Arena on the waterfront, and left with carry bags blazoned with the army careers logo. Ordered a few too many for the HR dept to use on campus for careers week, did they?

    This would have to be the most cynical of ‘human resources reallocations’ to come out of the public service operating budget cuts.

    What next?
    Are we about to close the Teachers’ Colleges like they did during the 1930’s?
    Tell the schools they can only teach mornings or afternoons, but not all day, to the same group of children/teenagers?

    When will this government acknowledge that they’ve only made things worse, and that those currently unemployed are not bludgers, but have had their economy stolen out from under their feet by the actions of global bankers, the like of John Key’s former collegues in Merrill Lynch?

  3. Exactly.

    It’s an unfortunate aspect of NZ organisations that when a firm/department no longer needs someone for a specific job, they fire them without regard to whether there might be something else they could be trained to do. (It mostly stems from not having a mandatory redundancy payout).

    While it’s undoubtedly true that there are jobs being done by uniformed people in the NZDF that don’t need “military” skills, I’m sure there are also areas in the force where they are understaffed. They ought to be redeploying people, not sacking them.

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