Unite the Union has called for a resolution to the longstanding issue of private sector pensions ‘once and for all’, reminding the Government not to push aside domestic issues as it devotes its time and attention to Brexit.
In doing so Unite echoed the words of the Gibraltar Chamber of Commerce who, earlier this month, said the Government risks ignoring domestic issues as it focuses its attention and efforts on Brexit.
Both, however, carefully noted the importance of Brexit and its potential consequences for this community.
Unite was speaking as part of its May Day message and just ahead of its traditional rally.
In a statement Unite highlighted how, in its previous May Day message, vowed to stand shoulder to shoulder with the Government of Gibraltar in its endeavour to protect our community with regards to the consequences that arise from Brexit.
But, and not withstanding this, Unite also challenged the Government to ensure that employment legislation is not eroded “citing” Brexit as an excuse.
“We understood then and can understand today that Brexit will carry on taking up an enormous amount of the Government’s time and Unite appreciates the lengths that the Government are going to, in defence of Gibraltar, its survival and its future, however, domestic issues cannot be pushed aside like has been the case for a long number of months now,” the union said.
Unite explained that it has been calling for an official meeting with Government to address the long list of outstanding issues which are not being addressed.
“For whatever reason, Government has not been dedicating its efforts into improving the mechanism, an important vehicle, to sort out problems of an industrial nature and negotiation processes which alleviates congestion of issues,” it added.
“There is a huge feeling of discontent amongst workers in the Public Sector because of this reason; departments are showing their frustration at so many issues of great importance not being given the adequate attention that they deserve.”
This includes issues such as long standing vacancies not being filled, private companies within Government departments, the use of agency workers within the public sector structures which amount to the erosion of terms and conditions within the service and in effect reduces the quality of employment for our present and future generation and ultimately Unite considers this ‘cheap labour through the back door’.
With regards to the private sector, Unite said it has been at the forefront of the campaign for the introduction of compulsory pensions in the private sector, trade union recognition and revamping of training schemes.
The union further called on the Government to bring the necessary improvements to exsisting training schemes with a view to enhance the quality of the training and to identify the existing skill gaps within the community.
Additionally, Unite made a final call on the Government to once and for all, legislate on the pension and trade union recognition.
Unite has requested a meeting with government both publically and through an open letter to the Chief Minister to which Unite’s Executive Committee are still waiting for a response.
“A good and health, working relationship with the Government sharing socialist ideology with that of Trade Unionism is always desired by most in aid of benefiting and protecting all workers in general. However, Unite will not tolerate being ignored or disrespected by a Government which seem not to like being told, that all is not well on industrial issues and that members are getting impatient and greatly upset at this kind of indifferent attitude.”
Photo: Library image