Unite the Union has thrown its weight behind the GSD’s recently announced policy with regards to the use of agency workers.
The GSD had said that the exploitation of agency workers, often young people, is a major concern for the party and planned to meet with all the local unions before finalising its policy.
In a statement Unite flagged the “continuous misuse and exploitation of agency workers” despite having raised the issue with the Government, “on countless occasions”.
Unite said it therefore welcomes and echoes the GSD’s comments on the exploitation of agency workers.
“Additionally, Unite the Union would like to highlight that the Agency Workers Regulations which used to mirror UK Regulations, was changed back in October 2013,” the union said.
It explained that this extended the eligibility for agency workers to be entitled to the same working and employment conditions as other permanent employees, from 12 weeks to 52 weeks.
“The 52 weeks qualifying period within the Gibraltar agency workers regulations effectively means that employers are able to undercut the wages and terms and conditions of permanent employees for a period of a year.”
The union added: “There is also evidence that employers are not providing equal working and employment rights following the 52 week period, as to prevent any further misuse of agency workers, by any present or future employer.”
Unite has therefore urged that another change in legislation is considered to revert back to the previous 12 weeks qualifying period.
“These recruitment agencies will inevitably result in a reduction of quality of employment conditions for our youth, whilst working alongside others enjoying the quality of employment we all deserve,” Unite said.
“It is unacceptable that Government continues to employ our people at minimum wage, with deteriorated working and employment conditions under the recruitment agencies.”
“Unite therefore, considers the misuse and exploitation of agency workers as unacceptable and once again calls on Government to enter into negotiations with the union to address the situation.”
“The long term engagement of recruitment agencies represents a false economy,” Unite said adding: “it should be clearly understood that Unite the Union is not arguing for the eradication of agency contracts, but that these agency contracts should be converted into permanent, properly paid, quality jobs.”
“It is a well-known fact that these issues are happening under the present Government administration, hence why Unite the Union are making its own preparations in organising an Agency workers conference where all Agency workers, members and non-members alike, will be invited to attend.”
“UK officials will offer a legal presentation to the effect and extent that these immoral and illegal practices are severely affecting our working population.”
Unite added that it will stand strong against any intentions of back door privatisation of any public services through the misuse of agency workers.