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Chatham Dockyard

Volume 15: debated on Monday 14 December 1981

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asked the Secretary of State for Defence if he will ensure that officers, maritime and non-industrial, employed at Chatham dockyard will be entitled to redundancy pay when their employment there is terminated; and will not be considered to have dismissed themselves and forfeited entitlement to redundancy pay if they cannot accept transference to another Royal naval dockyard for family or other reasons.

The officers referred to are known as marine services officers, which is a separate group of mobile non-industrial civil servants within the professional and technology category: they are members of the Royal Maritime Auxiliary Service. There are approximately 600 marine services officers employed in various ports and dockyards and there are 42 posts involved in the closure of Chatham yard.The unit of redundancy for officers of the RMAS is the corps nationally. Due to the age structure of the corps, the loss of 42 posts at Chatham will be more than compensated by natural wastage, including normal retirement, between now and 1984. There can be no question, therefore, of entitlement to redundancy pay because there will be no redundancy amongst this group of staff.Of the 42 officers concerned, 18 will retire naturally at or beyond the minimum retiring age. Of the remaining 24, 10 will be under 40, 10 will be between 40 and 49 and 4 will be between 55 and 59 by the time the yard closes. Any officers over age 55 who may be called upon to transfer will have the option of transfer on detached duty terms. This would have the advantage, inter alia, that an officer would be financially supported in a decision not to sell his home.