Unite the Union has expressed concern that Ministry of Defence plans to use voluntary retirement schemes in Gibraltar could significantly downsize the local workforce.
The union is in discussion with the MoD about the future of its locally-employed civilian workforce, against the wider context of cutbacks across all MoD operations worldwide, not just in Gibraltar.
For now, the consultation ahead of any changes to the MoD’s set-up in Gibraltar has been put on hold until at least October following the Brexit vote.
But Unite is nonetheless making clear to its members that there could be challenges ahead.
In a bulletin issued to its MoD members and seen by the Chronicle, Unite said voluntary retirement schemes amount to “the polished concept of redundancies” and could eliminate posts from the local Gibraltar workforce.
“This means that those employees accepting VRS will shrink the Gibraltar economy and limit the chances of our youth, our sons and daughters, to enter a job within the MoD,” the bulletin reads.
“Furthermore, the MoD suggests that their VRS package will only ‘trim’ the local civilian workforce by 14% but this is a distortion of the truth given that the MoD will be downsizing its operation by transferring many existing posts onto the Gibraltar public sector.”
This will account for downsizing the MoD workforce by over 50%, Unite said.
Unite voiced concerns that the smaller the MoD workforce in Gibraltar, the likelier it will be for them to downsize further or altogether leave a minimal presence in Gibraltar, and therefore, have a direct impact on its members and their families.
Unite also took a swipe at the MoD over its recently publicised expenditure on luxurious hotels – including the Sunborn five-star super yacht in Gibraltar.
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