Commonwealth War Graves Commission staff still waiting for answers

22 Jan 2021

Progress has been made but further concessions are needed for members based in Europe.

Commonwealth War Graves Commission (CWGC) staff are British citizens who serve overseas in countries such as Belgium and France, maintaining and caring for the cemeteries of those killed in the first and second world wars.

Staff were on whether to accept new inferior contracts where they work or be repatriated to the UK.

On 15 December there was a parliamentary debate on the issue. 18 MPs have signed an early day motion and over 6000 people have signed the set up by Unite the Union, which also has members working in the CWGC.

Since then Rachel Hopkins MP has met with chairman of the board and defence minister Ben Wallace, who agreed that the situation had been handled poorly by CWGC and also agreed to take away the issues that CWGC were failing to respond to. We are still waiting for a response.

Issues that are yet to be finalised include pensions and the provision of financial advice for those staff who wanted to stay where they are and have signed the new contracts. Members remain unsatisfied with where they have been placed on the local pay scales, something which CWGC management refused to negotiate over.

Through union pressure and media coverage, we have however been able to secure further concessions, including a potentially improved pensions offer and guaranteed repatriation costs for when members retire.

Members are now taking their grievance to the new CEO, Claire Horton, who takes up post at the end of January.

You can continue to support the CWGC members by

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