If you thought this was bad for morale, wait until you read this!
The morale of Royal Marines serving on the front line in Afghanistan has plummeted after a £3,000 ($6800 Canadian. $6000 US. 4500 Euro) allowance was deducted from their wages following a "dreadful blunder" by Royal Navy administrators.Dreadful blunder?!
The Marines had been told they could receive up to £17 extra a day as a special allowance for being on overseas operations during the six-month operation.And, Tony Blair was just there visiting last week. He even went to see the Royal Marines deployed to Afghanistan. Imagine what would have happened had the marines known about this little cock-up then.
But they were misled and the Ministry of Defence has now refused to pay the extra £3,000 the men had been promised.
Some commandos in Afghanistan yesterday said they would consider resigning when they returned home because they were so disgusted with the MoD.There is concern at the highest levels of the Royal Navy that the commandos of the Royal Marines may not take this quite as well as hoped.
One troop commander said: "How is morale? It's absolutely dreadful out here. Some people, particularly senior NCOs, are going to lose out on a significant amount of money."
A senior NCO said: "This is another kick in the teeth just as we have deployed out here. We will do what we do job-wise, but this just shows the value the MoD places on our service."
Vice Admiral Adrian Johns, the Second Sea Lord, wrote that with 1,030 Marines in the lawless Helmand province being affected by the blunder, "this unfortunate error could not have materialised at a worse time".Actually, there's never a good time for a pay loss, but the admiral is quite right. These guys are in one of the worst combat zones in the world and they're having their pay trimmed by up to $6800. Further, they've just arrived in Afghanistan. They have almost five months to plan their revenge. I can also tell you, the "M" word will be on the minds many.
This was "not what they may have been expecting" and commanders were instructed to tell their men "in as sensitive a manner as possible", the letter said.Let's see. Sensitive. Something like, "Y'know, you guys are really over-paid."
It was not until a few weeks ago that the Navy's Resources and Planning department noticed its mistake, but not before some marines had estimated their LSA bonuses at as much as 11 times beyond the level to which they were entitled.Now that's understatement. Extremely pissed-off is probably a more accurate description of the mood. You can expect the morale-meters to come out and pictures of UK Defence Secretary Des Browne to find their way onto figure 11 targets.
A senior Royal Navy officer said the error had been "absolutely devastating to morale".
"They are not being paid enough for what they do as it is so then to take £500 a month out of their pay is going to cause morale to plummet even further. Yes, they are incredibly dedicated people and love doing what they do out there, but this has made them incredibly unimpressed."
Memo to Tony Blair: I'm sure you consider yourself a "war leader". Emperors have been overthrown by troops who were robbed of their promised pay. You might want to locate the REMF who actually caused this and put him/her in protective custody before those Royal Marines come home.