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Govt tightens focus on employment

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The Government of Gibraltar is clamping down on Approved Contractors who are not fulfilling their commitment to offer jobs to the registered unemployed.

Approved contractors, as a condition of their contract to provide services to the Government, must recruit a certain number of suitable persons from the registered unemployed during the term of the contract.

The Gibraltar Government said it “continues in its determined, daily endeavour to ensure that all Gibraltarians who actively seek employment find employment.”

Both the Ministry for Employment and the Ministry for Economic Development are presently working together to identify employment opportunities for all persons registered as unemployed with the Employment Service.

All approved contractors have received a letter informing them that to continue participating in the scheme, they are required to have all employees registered with the Department of Employment prior to commencing work and throughout the term of any contract.

The number of registered unemployed each company must hire is unique to each contractor.

The Government is aiming for synergy with its approach and does not aim to make employers hire individuals they do not desire to, nor will it make unemployed people accept any job that arises.

The Minister for Employment, Neil Costa, said the Government wishes to assist both the approved contractors and the registered unemployed. On the long term unemployed or those who struggled to attain employment he said that neither he nor the Government “considers anyone as unemployable”.

“Unlike the GSD when in office, this Government does not consider any persons as ‘unemployable’. A more offensive term is hard to imagine, even in the most challenging cases,” said Mr Costa.

“It is significant to remember that in just one year of GSLP/Liberal Government, there were more Gibraltarians in full time employment than there were in 16 years under the GSD.”

“We will, therefore, continue, unceasingly, the extremely important labour of finding employment for all of our citizens. For the individual securing employment, there may be nothing more important; for us, there is nothing more rewarding,” he added.

Mr Costa explained that all Government Departments have been asked to designate an officer responsible to monitor compliance by their Approved Contractors and that the Department of Employment will carry out random inspections to ensure the scheme is being adhered to.

During the Financial Year ending March 2016, the Labour Inspectorate carried out a total of 767 Inspections, attended to 87 complaints from the public relating to the none compliance of Employers with Terms and Conditions and have issued 31 Fixed Penalty Notices.

The “Government of Gibraltar is unwaveringly committed to decreasing the level of unemployment and the Labour Inspectorate will actively monitor that companies on the Approved Contractor’s Scheme are complying fully with the conditions of the Scheme, which includes the requirement to employ individuals who are registered unemployed,” Mr Costa said.

He added that a contractor that does not stick to the contract “as a last resort………………..will be removed from the Approved Contractors’ list” and will not allowed to participate until the Government is satisfied that the contractor will be in a position to comply fully with the conditions of the Scheme.”

In addition, he said that a fully resourced Labour Inspectorate is available to assist both employers and employees with any information either requires.

The Ministry is also working to ensure that the registered unemployed attend the employment interviews it arranges and that they take up offers of employment made to them.

“The Department of Employment and I will continue daily in our efforts to identify suitable vacancies for those individuals registered as unemployed,” said Mr Costa.

The Minister also commented that the level of unemployment has fallen and has reached the lowest recorded average figure ever of 204 in the second quarter of 2015.