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Govt assures unions on MasterService contract

The Gibraltar Government has made a number of assurances to the MasterService workforce after it announced it that it would put the public cleaning contract out to tender.
The Government has previously stated that it was bound by law to put the contract out to tender and emphasised that no jobs would be at risk as a result.
Following a meeting between Unite the Union and the Chief Minister, Fabian Picardo, the union said that should another company other than Master Services be successful in their tender bid for the cleaning services, both Unite and the government are fully committed to ensuring that none of the workers within the company lose out to any of their current terms and conditions including pay.
The same guarantees were given in a meeting held on Monday by Minister for the Environment Dr John Cortes to a delegation of Unite members, it added.
“It was also made clear that the current workforce at Master Services would all remain under the one successful company and not divided or deployed into different companies across the sector,” Unite said in a statement yesterday.
“Unite is fully committed in supporting all it members at Master Service and will continue to make representations in order to ensure that they get the best possible deals through this crucial transitional time.”
A delegation of GGCA members also met with Dr Cortes to discuss the decision to put the contract out to tender.
The main proposal put forward by the GGCA was that, on the termination of the contract, that the services provided by MasterService be reabsorbed by the Government of Gibraltar, with a view to returning the cleaning of public areas to the public sector.
If there are concerns regarding the cost of outsourcing such services, this would ‘cut out the middle man’ and result in efficiencies, thereby resulting in savings to the taxpayer.
The GGCA explained that the MasterService workforce would be happy to retain their current terms and conditions, as long as their employment status was changed from private to public, as this would give them continuity and job security.
The white collar union added that such a move would also be cost effective and would increase value for the general public.
“The vehicles and equipment currently utilised by MasterService are property of the Government of Gibraltar, so such a move would not incur extra capital expenditure.”
According to the GGCA, the MasterService workers are afraid that, on the commencement of the tender process, their jobs will be on the line every time a contract expires and is once again subject to a tender process.
“The majority of the MasterService staff are long term employees – it is estimated that more than 50% of workers are long term employees, having worked for more than 15 years in the company.”
“They have provided many years of exceptional service undertaking hazardous and back breaking jobs in service to the community – they do not deserve to live in constant uncertainty and fear, with the threat of job losses, changes of terms and conditions and the insecurity that recurring contracts for the outsourcing of these services will bring,” the GGCA added.
“We feel that a move away from privatisation and towards the nationalisation of such an important service for our community is entirely consistent with socialist principles, and will bring a long term benefit to Gibraltar.”
“However, if the Government of Gibraltar is unwilling to consider this proposal, the MasterService staff has already shown its support for MasterService and has communicated its desire to remain within the structure currently provided by the company.”
“A mandate to this end was given to the GGCA Committee at a meeting with the membership last Tuesday.”

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