Unite the Union has called on the Ministry of Defence to “come clean” as to whether or not there are going to be compulsory job losses in the event it cannot meet its planned reduction through voluntary redundancies.
Unite said it needs to be ‘highly critical’ of the MoD’s actions after announcing a reduction in its workforce but also advertising vacancies for general hands and for Gibraltar Defence Police officers.
The trade union further urges working together in order to mitigate the number of individuals impacted by their new operating model by giving them preference to the already advertised vacancies.
This follows the MoD’s announcement earlier this month of a new operating model for British Forces Gibraltar including reductions totalling around 85 personnel.
In a statement, Unite said it felt obliged to respond to certain comments made by the Commander of British Forces, Commodore Mike Walliker, in the media and calls on the MoD to reconsider the final number of jobs to be lost under the new Operating Model.
Unite points to phrases used by Commodore Walliker which, it said, indicate that compulsory redundancies “could” happen.
“Words such as, we quote, “I do not envisage any compulsory redundancies…There should be no requirement for compulsory redundancies… and as he told the Panorama, he hoped, like last time, there were voluntary redundancies, there would be no need to force people out of their jobs.”
In response to questions asked by the media the Commodore Walliker replied that no further plans for further reductions were in place, Unite said.
“Yet he contradicts himself in another interview by stating that any future changes are subject to the plans of the Chancellor of the Exchequer, therefore, he cannot reaffirm the Locally Entered Civilian workforce that no further reductions would take place after the implementation of the Operating Model.”
Unite further questions the MoD’s “overly optimistic position” that they will achieve the high numbers of voluntary redundancy applications, when to date, it has not yet carried out an expression of interest exercise for such a scheme, contrary to what the Commander British Forces said in his interview with GBC when asked about Compulsory Redundancies.
Commodore Walliker owes it to all his “loyal employees to speak clearly and come clean,” Unite added.
“The MoD calls ‘attractive’ a Voluntary Redundancy Scheme which offers a month per year of service as compensation, therefore, meaning that a Locally Entered Civilian which has been working for four years would only get four months’ salary.”
It might be attractive to the minority, Unite said, but without a doubt it would not be attractive to all those Locally Entered Civilians’ post holders, targeted by this new Operating Model.
Unite further criticises Commodore Walliker on his statement where he insinuates that Gibraltar should count itself lucky for only facing a 15% reduction, compared to the UK where a 45% reduction of the civilian workforce is taking place.
“Mr. Commander British Forces, have you considered the socio-economic impact this reduction will have on 30 thousand Gibraltarians?” Unite asks.