Employers are protesting that Government plans to draft Territorial Army reserves for up to six months service will strip them of crucial skilled staff.
The army wants to call up around 500 TA reserve troops to serve in Kosovo and Bosnia, to ease the strain on regular forces.
But companies say the proposal could hit productivity. `If people were called up for six months that would be a problem,’ said Mike Judge, personnel director at Peugeot. `If people with logistics experience are needed, that represents the lifeblood of our company.’
Louis Paperis, head of human resources at construction firm Costain, said the company was conducting a review of the TA members among the workforce to see where it could be affected.
`Our policy is to support the TA, but it has not been tested until now,’ he said. `[This proposal] is of concern because there are people doing important jobs who would be difficult to replace over that period of time.’
Employers would be compensated for costs arising from the call up. TA members are protected from dismissal during their service.
The Report on Jobs survey, published in September by the National Training Council and the Federation of Recruitment and Employment Services, has identified a shortage of skilled engineers and construction staff.
John Robinson writes for Personnel Today magazine