Tributes have been paid to Unite the Union’s Victor Ochello who retired from his post as the regional officer today, after 13 years at the head of the union in Gibraltar.
Unite’s General Secretary, Len McCluskey, said: “Victor has made a massive contribution over many years, not just to Unite Gibraltar but to the wider labour movement.”
“I thank him for his hard work and dedication over his 13 years as an officer and his remarkable 48 years membership of our union, during which time he has made a difference to the lives of working people on the Rock.”
“I have no doubt that Victor’s dedication and commitment will continue to be felt through his continued trade union activism as a retired and Unite Community member.”
Christian Duo, Unite Gibraltar’s branch coordinating officer, said Mr Ochello has worked “tirelessly” in support of the trade union and the working people in Gibraltar.
“He has always tackled unfairness and inequality in the workplace and beyond,” Mr Duo added.
“I am delighted that he will continue his work with us following his retirement and that his passion for helping working people will not be lost completely.”
Mr Ochello said it was the right time to go into retirement after giving 48 years of his life to the trade union movement in Gibraltar and the past 13 years in office.
“It has been an absolute pleasure for me, first representing the T&GWU and now Unite the Union,” he said.
“I will always treasure having made so many friends throughout my career and am thankful to all officials, committee members, convenors, shop stewards and members who have worked alongside and supported me all along.”
“I now look forward to a well-deserved retirement and to spending some much-needed time with my family.”
“However, I will always be there for Unite and for workers in general.”
“I do intend to carry on supporting the union and its members as a retired member wherever possible.”
“Hasta la Victoria. Siempre.”
The Chief Minister Fabian Picardo also paid tribute to Mr Ochello for the work he has done over the years.
Mr Picardo said: “He and I have worked together for many years.”
“I represented Victor and many of his members as a lawyer before I was in Government and I have negotiated with him since I became Chief Minister.”
“In all that time, we have agreed and disagreed as we have had to in exercise of our respective responsibilities, but we have never fallen out.”
“In the best moments as in the worst moments, Victor and Fabian have always remained friends, colleagues and comrades.”
“We have always, therefore, found a way to row back from confrontation to achieve more for those we represent from a consensual approach – something that some seem not to have understood.”
Mr Picardo said there are many way he learnt from Mr Ochello, adding: “Although we may defend our positions passionately, we also help each other and work together and in a collegiate fashion whether or not the cameras are rolling and the microphone eavesdropping.”
“A fraternal farewell to Victor from me, in solidarity, and a big thanks for his grain of sand for the improvement of the lot of working people.”
“I wish Victor a long and fruitful retirement in which I am sure he and I will be able to continue to work together to continue to improve the lives of working people in Gibraltar.”