15,000 new army reservists ‘will need work protection’

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THE government is under pressure to back up its reforms to military reservists by providing more protection in the workplace for part-time soldiers.

Defence Secretary Philip Hammond yesterday unveiled plans to boost the armed services reservices with an increase in the size of the Territorial Army, which will also have a new name, the Army Reserve.

The government wants reservists to pick up more military responsibilities with the number of regulars in the army reduced by 20,000 to 82,000.

Reservists will be given more training and longer notice of mobilisations to ensure they are “prepared to deploy”. The cut in regulars is being accompanied by a doubling in the number of “weekend warriors” to 30,000.

But shadow defence secretary Jim Murphy called for new laws to safeguard volunteer service personnel against being overlooked in the workplace for
promotion or pay rises.