I’m incredibly proud to be today announcing the re-signing of the Armed Forces Covenant, and the extending of our commitment to former and current armed forces personnel.
We often think of our armed forces as protecting us from external threats, keeping us safe and secure from those who wish to harm us or our way of life.
Yet as if we needed reminding any more, the Coronavirus pandemic has shown that our armed forces keep us safe in so many more ways than we can even imagine.
It was the armed forces that were deployed to test people at the start of the crisis, who ensured that vital supply chains kept running and who are helping to secure the effective roll-out of the vaccine.
Given how each of us benefits from the safety our armed forces community provides, I see it as a responsibility and a duty of employers to support the armed forces in any way that we can.
It is because of this that Community are re-signing the Covenant today – to reaffirm our commitment to the armed forces community.
We also want to make certain promises as an employer that ensures that any member of the armed forces is given the equal opportunity to seek employment at Community.
We want to ensure that those members of the armed forces community who are currently employed by us or will be in the future have the conditions and working environment that suits their needs and their service.
Another one of our renewed commitments is to encourage those employers where Community is the recognised union to also take the step to sign the Armed Forces Covenant.
As a first proactive step to standing true to that commitment, we will write to every employer we have a good relationship with and ask them to sign up to the Armed Forces Covenant. For those employers who have already made that commitment then we will ask them to follow our lead and refresh and extend their commitments under the covenant.
Community also intend, as part of our campaign to end veteran homelessness, to continue to work alongside the armed forces to secure better protections and extended rights for those currently serving or who have served.
As part of a broad coalition of organisations and individuals working together, we will ensure that no one who has served our country ends up on our streets, and instead is offered safety and protection and for those who want it – good quality, highly skilled employment and the safety net that provides in every aspect of life.
Commodore Martin Quinn, Head of the Reserves at the Ministry of Defence says:
“I am delighted that Community Trade Union have decided to re-sign their Armed Forces Covenant. This is a very important step which recognises their pledge to ask those employers who they have established relationships with to sign the Armed Forces Covenant, and I also welcome the introduction of a guaranteed interview scheme for Veterans. This sets a fine example to those employers Community works with and also to other unions alike. Thank you Community for your support”.
I want to take this final opportunity to thank our military personnel at home and overseas. Although I feel we will never be able to repay you fully, I hope this Covenant demonstrates our commitment to your community. I would encourage any employer reading this to sign the covenant and do what you can to support the Armed Forces community.