Australian Defence Force (ADF) personnel are outraged they are being forced to sacrifice leave in order to receive the government’s new pay offer.
The government revealed defence personnel would need to give up some of their Christmas and recreational leave for a pay rise of just 1.5% per year over the next three years.
One Australian Army defence soldier told Business Insider Australia, “In the simplest terms, it’s a load of shit.”
“I would probably have accepted a 1.5% salary increase, but the fact that we’re losing time off over Christmas is ridiculous,” he said. “I’ll also miss out on about five additional days of extra recreation leave.”
The private, who wished to remain anonymous, said “extra recreation leave” was a vital incentive for defence personnel.
“If you do a lot of time out in the field you would normally receive additional leave and it’s important for defence personnel to have this in order to spend missed time with their families.”
“Overall it equates to a reduction of about 18 days of leave over three years… that’s not acceptable.”
He said there was a multitude of other discrepancies he and his fellow defence personnel had with the government’s offer.
“In the past, if you wanted to travel by car from Sydney to Brisbane, you would normally log the type of car and engine size of the vehicle used on the journey and you would be re-reimbursed accordingly.
“Now, there’s one standard rate, no matter what vehicle you drive, which can make a huge difference in costs.”
Earlier this week more than 7000 soldiers, sailors, aviation personnel, reservists and their families had contacted the Defence Welfare Association, strongly disapproving the government’s offer.
Defence Welfare Association national president David Jamison said he had not anticipated such a harsh reaction to the government’s offer, Fairfax Media reported.
“It’s strengthened our position to one of total opposition to what is being offered,” Jamison said. “We were expecting that some people wouldn’t be happy with it, but now we simply have to say that it’s just not acceptable.”
A non-commissioned officer in the ADF is paid around $65,000 per annum.
This would mean a soldier would lose approximately $1300 worth of recreational leave each year, while the government’s pay increase offer is worth less than $1000.
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