Monday, 5 Dec 2022

Soldiers suffering from low morale after 70 hour weeks

GMB: British Army commander gets choked up about Afghanistan

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The Labour Party has warned that British troops are being overworked as data shows 70 hour working weeks by thousands of soldiers. The figure is a two percent rise compared to those from 2020.

The Ministry of Defence expressed its wish to see forces work “normal” working days from 8:30am to 17:00pm.

However, despite this, approximately 4,000 soldiers worked much longer weeks than that.

Alongside this, the hours pulled by Navy personnel showed that they worked over 70 hours a week, which is a 14 percent rise from last year.

The figures emerged from a survey of troops in the forces which showed that approximately 6,249 sailors worked hours much longer than anticipated.

Now, Labour has issued a warning that the taxing hours have damaged the morale of Britain’s soldiers.

The survey showed that the level of satisfaction in the armed forces have fallen to 52 percent.

Luke Pollard, Shadow Armed Forces Minister told The Sun: “Our forces are trained to fight and win, but excessive hours damage morale and can impact on recruitment and retention.

“Ministers should carefully examine the impact their failures are having on working conditions for those serving our country.”

However, the Ministry of Defence (MoD) has said that in exchange for the demanding hours, troops are awarded substantial benefits.

These perks include extended leave time and bonuses for working the longer hours.

The Ministry of Defence defended its working hours with the exceptionality of the work the troops are expected to perform to “keep the nation safe”.

A spokesperson for the MoD said: “While the military work incredibly hard for short periods while deployed, they are compensated with very generous annual leave and higher levels of pay to reflect the unique circumstances and working patterns required to keep the nation safe.”

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In 2014, a survey by the Army Families Federation showed that British troops were already working hours which were not sustainable or healthy.

The survey demanded a review of the working culture in the military following the normalisation of longer hours in the operations in Afghanistan and Iraq.

Gail Kinman, a professor of occupational health psychology wrote a foreword to the report which said that the hours “will undoubtedly have a negative impact on family life and will also reduce opportunities for soldiers to recover fully from the psychological and physical demands of their work.”

Ms Kinman added that the EU’s working time directive noted a maximum of 48 hours per week, which the military would be exempt from, but demonstrates how the hours pulled by the military both in 2014 and in 2022 “are not healthy or sustainable”.

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