Keith Davies AM this week asked the First Minister what support is being given to members of the Territorial Army.
The concerns come as the UK Defence Minister, Andrew Robathan, announces a second stage of personnel reductions. The UK Government plan, “Future Force 2020” is set to reduce the size of the army from 100,000 to 82,000 by 2015.
The Territorial Army is to be heavily relied upon to replace this shortfall, making increased training and experience essential.
Recruits must attend annual camp for 10 working days, and units have a minimum training requirement of either 19 or 27 days. Currently NHS policy only allows for 5 days paid leave a year.
Keith Davies AM said:
“Constituents have contacted me about the reduction in paid leave, which will no longer cover all annual camp duties, or further training.”
“Being a member of the Territorial Army offers many transferable skills that can be utilised by your civilian employers. These range from increased professional skills such as medical and engineering, to general skills like motivation and teamwork.”
The First Minister, Carwyn Jones AM, said:
Encouraging membership for the Territorial Army “is a matter for the Ministry of Defence”.
“It is very important that the armed forces are supported, bearing in mind the situation that they are in at present.”
“The Minister, Carl Sargeant, has discussed assisting employers throughout Wales in order to ensure that they can let staff play a part in the armed forces without any kind of penalty.”
UK Government plans could result in abolishing the Welsh Dragoon Guards, a senior regiment of the British Army who recently returned from their tour in Afghanistan. Yesterday campaigners staged a rally in London and delivered a petition to Downing Street.