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The strong reaction of the Non-Commissioned Officers Association was provoked by the submission of a bill by the Ministry of Defence which, as reported, abolishes acquired rights of the 1,147 contracted NCOs currently serving the National Guard. The said bill affects these NCOs financially.
In view of today’s meeting of the Parliamentary Defence Committee, the President of the Non-Commissioned Officers Association, Warrant Officer Spyros Neokleous, sent a letter to the MPs of the Committee denouncing the said abolition, requesting the removal of the disputed provision from the amendment. Otherwise, the NCOs Association demands the payment of compensations estimated at several million euros.
In particular, as reported by the newspaper Politis, in his letter Mr. Neokleous points out the following to the MPs of the Defence Committee:
“The Ministry of Defence unilaterally proposes – without any prior consultation with our Association – the amendment of the law and regulation in order to abolish the right of contracted NCOs for two three-year contracts after their mandatory retirement at the age of 57, a provision which was approved and voted by your Committee in the NCOs regulations in December 2017.
We would like to inform you that this constitutes a unilateral horizontal abolition of an acquis voted by Parliament without any provision for benefits or compensation. The abolition of this right of the NCOs negatively affects their financial situation and deprives them of their rights and financial benefits, resulting in significant reductions, both in their lump sum and pensions.
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This fact will cause them great socio-economic problems, since with this abolition they will not be entitled to six years’ salaries. In addition to the above, the President of the NCOs Association informs the MPs about the following:
The majority of the NCOs were promoted only once during their more than 20 years of service in the Armed Forces. A large number of NCOs do not complete 400 months of service by the age of 57, which is the NCOs’ compulsory retirement so as to be entitled to a full pension, resulting in the low salary scale that, along with not having completed the required retirement years, will negatively affect their retirement benefits.
These NCOs have their family obligations and have also planned their lives (loans, children’s studies, etc.) based on the salaries of the two contracts provided by their regulations until the age of 63. Already, for the past three years, about 10 NCOs have signed contracts. The abolition of contracts will have huge negative economic consequences for them and their families.
The institution of NCOs is declining as those who retire are not replaced and by 2036 everyone will have retired.
In its letter, the Non-Commissioned Officers’ Association expresses its disagreement with the abolition of the NCOs’ contracts and calls on the members of the Defence Committee not to allow this injustice against 1,147 families, “unless a corresponding financial compensation is given”.
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