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Pensioners’ convention launches in Gibraltar

Photo by Johnny Bugeja.

The Joint Pensioners’ Convention of Gibraltar (JPCG) launched on Monday, with the aim better understanding issues affecting senior citizens locally and helping them voice their concerns.

On Monday afternoon, members of the Convention signed their constitution, with the group formed of representatives from Unite the Union Gibraltar, GGCA, NASUWT (Gibraltar) and the Gibraltar Senior Citizens Association.

Charles Bishop from NASUWT was elected as the Chair of the Convention, and in their mission statement the four groups said they will work cooperatively on shared aims, values and objectives for the betterment of pensioners across the community in Gibraltar.

The JPCG will meet on a minimum of a quarterly basis, and the Convention was set up after it was felt pensioners needed a place to voice their concerns.

“I think there's a problem with pensioners being able to voice if they haven't got a space or a forum where they can actually come to,” Mr Bishop told the Chronicle.

“They tend to be overlooked because people tend to think that because people are not working anymore, you're not part of anything. But pensioners are a large group.”

Mr Bishop said the JPCG estimates about 18% of the population are pensioners, and they would like to hear about any problems senior citizens may face.

Although the Convention has an idea of some of the issues, the JPCG will be holding meetings with senior citizens to have a clearer snapshot and at first, their aim is to gather information.

Mr Bishop pointed to the difficulty some pensioners experience accessing services online, but until more information is sought the Convention will not press on these matters.

“I don't want to jump the gun, but we will be collecting data using two different types of methods so that we have validity and reliability, and then we'll go and speak to the relevant authorities and see what we can do about it,” he said.

Robert Chandler from the Association told how the Convention is picking up on the work of the late Manolo Ruiz, the former President of the Gibraltar Senior Citizen’s Association.

“Manolo Ruiz, for 20 years, did marvellous work, which the group is based on, whether it be [panic] buttons or escalators, the number of issues that pensioners have is considerable,” Mr Chandler said.

He added: “Pensioners have always had issues, but technology has certainly put a spanner in the works, let's put it that way.

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