Base civilians go back to work after US shutdown

Entrance to RAF Mildenhall.
Entrance to RAF Mildenhall.
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Nearly 300 civilians laid off from the USAF bases at Lakenheath and Mildenhall returned to work today.

Many American civilians working on the bases were sent on furlough (unpaid leave) when the US Government shut down on October 1 after failure in the senate to pass a new budget.

But on Saturday Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel said: “Attorneys concluded that the law does allow the Department of Defense to eliminate furloughs for employees whose responsibilities contribute to the morale, well-being, capabilities and readiness of service members.”

At RAF Lakenheath only 30 per cent of the 200 DoD paid civilian staff were deemed so vital to the base that they were not laid off.

A spokesman said: “Our entire Air Force team is now back together, present for duty and providing the finest quality services to our military community.”

About 135 had been laid off at RAF Mildenhall. A spokeswoman said: “Our civilian workforce is a key element of our team.”