Brexit dilemma CWGC staff oversees: Get back or have your income halved

Foto: Renkum Nieuws

After many years of service, maintaining and caring for the cemeteries of fallen heroes in oversees countries, the Commonwealth War Graves Commission (CWGC) gives it’s staff in those countries three weeks to decide:

Get back home or face your income halved.

“To be given just three weeks’ notice to making life changing decisions on whether to uproot our lives and that of our families in the middle of a global pandemic when jobs are scarce is terrifying. So is accepting losing up to half of our income. We are desperate.”


“This is happening to us as we’ve been told that we will no longer be entitled to UK contracts after 31 December 2020, when the Brexit transition period ends. But switching onto new contracts means changing to our country of employment’s tax code and changes to pensions and other terms and conditions, which could see us lose up to 50% of our income.”

The Airborne Cemetery in Oosterbeek is the second largest Commonwealth cemetery in the Netherlands. There are numerous cemeteries in the Netherlands where the fallen of the Second World War are buried. Here in Oosterbeek an entire cemetery has been reserved for them, but some graves are alone or with a few of their comrades, among other graves elsewhere. Like Arnhem, Rheden, Wageningen or Renkum, in Heteren, Valburg or Driel. These graves, and therefore entire cemeteries such as in Holten and Groesbeek, are lovingly kept by the staff of the Commonwealth War Graves Commission

In other countries where fights took place in the Second World War, but also those in the First World War, such as in France and Belgium, the personnel were given the same choice.

What a choice!

Or they continue to do this work and see their income halved. Or they go back to the United Kingdom within three weeks, during the corona pandemic, as if it were that simple.

But now? The staff is shocked. Logical, Christmas and the end of the year are coming, and then everything is suddenly turned upside down. Three weeks is extra short during this time of year, so they came up with the following:

“We now need the minister Ben Wallace to intervene on our behalf to protect our terms and conditions and put pressure on the CWGC to talk to our unions. Please help us by emailing the minister.”

Sign the petition here


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