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Unions team up ahead of agency workers’ protest

Local unions GGCA and NASUWT Gibraltar will support the demonstration called by Unite the Union next week to protest about the employment conditions of agency workers in Gibraltar.

The three unions agreed to work together to highlight the “misuse” of supply and agency workers following a meeting yesterday.

After the meeting, the GGCA set out its position on the use of supply workers in the civil service.

The GGCA said that ever since the recruitment process for Administrative Assistants was suspended by the Government of Gibraltar in 2015, it had been advocating that recruitment be recommenced to address the “unacceptably large” number of supply workers covering vacant posts within civil service departments.

The union said it had raised its concerns with ministers and officials, including the Chief Minister, as well as publicly.

Feedback from its members in 2018 suggested that the scale of what the union described as “the problem” was significant.

In the Treasury Department, for example, 22% of officers were supply workers, while in the Income Tax Office the figure stood at 22%, rising to 24% in the Department of Social Security.

A poll later that same year found that 88% of respondents agreed that recommencing the AA recruitment process was the most important civil service issue for the GGCA.

In May 2018, the GGCA supported a Unite GHA walkout on the basis of this principle that external agency workers should not be engaged to cover permanent posts within the civil service and public service.

“We welcomed the Chief Minister’s subsequent commitment to resolve this matter, which was given publically in May 2018 but with no outcome to date,” the GGCA said in a statement.

“We would like to see the situation resolved with no further delay, with an immediate recommencement of the Administrative Assistant recruitment process which was suspended in June 2015.”

“We feel that it is extremely unfair that supply workers are covering vacant posts within the civil service on far inferior terms and conditions, usually the minimum statutory requirements.”

“We feel these workers deserve the opportunity to apply for civil service Administrative Assistant posts, to be given the opportunity to apply for permanent employment within the clerical civil service on the same terms and conditions as every other civil servant.”

The GGCA Executive Committee will be present at the protest on Wednesday January 16 at 3.30pm in Casemates.

“We invite all GGCA members to attend to support the protest, so that together we can end the practice of covering vacant posts within the civil service and the public service with supply workers,” the union said.

“If this practice is not curtailed soon, it will have the net effect of diminishing the quality of employment for our youth and possibly for future generations.”

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