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Llamas urges assessments in awarding government contracts

Independent MP Lawrence Llamas has said it is ‘essential’ that the Government undertakes the relevant assessments in the awarding of government contracts.

This comes amid a dispute between the Government and Grand Home Care over the reassignment of the contract to provide at the care at the John Mackintosh elderly residential wing.

This saw concerned employees of Grand Home Care lead a demonstration outside Unite the Union headquarters amidst news that MedDoc Healthcare would take over the contract.

Home Care Workers Protest 14-03-2018  

The employees were seeking guarantees that staff who currently work at the wing would continue to be employed on the same terms and conditions.

In a statement Mr Llamas said the care sector in Gibraltar has grown significantly over the last six years. 

“This has inevitably led to an increasing demand in carers for both residential and domiciliary care, the management and cost of which must be closely monitored,” he said. 

“Having followed the developments in relation to care services at the John Mackintosh wing since last week, [Wednesday’s] demonstration by the Grand Home Care workers outside the headquarters of Unite the Union was a visual and powerful reminder of the impact that the award of Government contracts has on the workers who ultimately provide the service users with the resources they require.”

Mr Llamas added that the allocation and reallocation of contracts evidently has, beyond the purely commercial analysis of cost versus benefit for Government and its contractors, a “very human side”.

“It is essential, therefore, that in the context of the award of Government contracts in this sector, as in others, that Government undertakes the relevant assessments to identify the perennial issues and tackle the inescapable realities of service provision, whether they be in the context of providers, users, or indeed the taxpayer at large.”

“The short-term focus in respect of this issue must, in my view, be on efforts to ensure as far as possible, the seamless transition of employees from one care provider to another.”

“Whilst the critical nature of this matter has been correctly identified and raised by Unite and also openly acknowledged by the Government, further clarification is required.”

Additionally, Mr Llamas welcomed a Government statement which states that it will not “tolerate zero hour contracts and expects all employees to be contracted part-time or full-time”. 

This will not only go a long way towards providing certainty and stability to workers in the long term, but will also doubtless improve continuity of care, he said.  

“This is a new positive step which I, for one, certainly welcome - a sentiment I am sure will be shared by carers and service users too.”

Mr Llamas explained that “whilst the reallocation of the contract from GHC to Meddoc will represent a time of uncertainty for the employees of GHC, I am hopeful that the Union will be able to secure the best possible terms for its members and that, to the extent possible, that it will assist the stakeholders to minimise the impact of this development on them.”

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