More than 1,600 sailors axed in MoD cuts to the Royal Navy

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THE Ministry of Defence has announced plans to axe 1,600 sailors.

The first tranche of redundancies for the Royal Navy will result in a total of around 1,600 redundancies from across a variety of the service’s specialisations and branches, and will include ratings and officers up to the rank of Captain.

The MoD said selected for redundancy will be Officers from the Engineering, Medical, Warfare and Logistics Branches as well as Junior Ratings and Senior Ratings from a variety of branches across the navy.

Further redundancies in the number of sailors will be announced over the course of the next four years until 5,000 naval personnel have been axed.

The MoD also announced 1,000 redundancies in the Army. It comes after the RAF spelled out its plans for 2,700 lay-offs last month.

Royal Navy and Army personnel will be informed through their chain of command if they are to be made redundant in this first tranche in September 2011. Volunteers will then serve six months notice before leaving the Armed Forces. Non-volunteers will serve 12 months notice.

Armed Forces Minister Nick Harvey said: ‘We have to ensure that our Armed Forces are best structured for the challenges they face both now and in the future. That said, we would of course prefer not to have to make any of our personnel redundant but unfortunately we inherited a huge deficit in the defence budget from our predecessors in government. On the dates redundancy notices are issued no personnel preparing for, deployed on, or returning from combat operations and on post-tour leave will be made compulsorily redundant.’

All non-volunteers for redundancy will have the opportunity to apply for a transfer to an area of any Service that has shortages. These shortage categories will be published ahead of the redundancy announcements in September, along with the application process and selection criteria.

‘Given that we are reducing the size of our Armed Forces these opportunities will, of course, be limited,’ an MoD spokesman said.

The MoD said the redundancies will have no impact on current operations.

‘No-one who is preparing for combat operations, deployed on operations or on post-operational tour leave on the day redundancy notices are issued will be made redundant unless they have volunteered,’ an MoD statement said, adding.

‘Personnel being made redundant will, as all other Service leavers, receive help from the MoD to assist them in their transition back into civilian life. This includes a range of advice covering housing and finance as well as helping them to understand the civilian jobs market and how transferable their military skills are. The MOD will ensure that personnel are fully prepared and supported for their transition, with thanks for the service they have given to our country.’