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GSD puts focus on Govt’s use of contract workers

The GSD Opposition has expressed concern at what it described as “unprecedented” levels of contract workers in public service.

The party said that on 15 separate monthly sessions of parliament, it had probed the Gibraltar Government on the “very high levels” of supply workers within certain sectors of the public service.

“These levels have raised concerns not only about whether there is adequate continuity of service but also on the rights of workers,” the GSD said in a statement.

“While there is always going to be a level of supply labour within the public and, indeed, private sectors to cater for maternity and sick leave, the levels we are seeing in the public service are unprecedented.”

In the Care Agency, 39% of the total labour force is employed via recruitment consultants or agencies and in the Elderly Residential Services the figure is 30%.

The GSD said that these are areas where a service is being provided to vulnerable service users.

It said many in Gibraltar are concerned that they do not have a full and accurate picture of the effect of such temporary labour on continuity of service.

“To the extent that it is argued by the Government that there is no effect on continuity of service because there is no high turnover of staff, that has its own implications for the labour rights of individuals who may working on permanent supply,” the GSD said.

The party said that in the past two years it has had many workers who have also complained to them about the fact that recruitment consultants or agencies are getting paid an hourly rate for their labour which is “disproportionately in excess” of what those workers are then getting paid.

“There is therefore an exploitation concern that cannot be fobbed off by the Government and needs to be properly investigated,” said the party.

Opposition MP Daniel Feetham said: “At a time when there is also concern with the lack of transparency in the way contracts have been shifted from Grand Home Care to newcomer MedDoc, it is important the Government is held to account on these issues.”

“Unfortunately holding this Government to account is difficult, given its propensity to be evasive, inconsistent or downright contradictory in the information it provides.”

“For that reason we are asking employees or service users who find themselves affected by the current state of affairs to contact us in the strictest confidence to help us get a clearer picture of the present situation.”

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