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Unite adds voice to concerns over planned modular elderly residence

Unite the Union today raised concerns over the proposals for the new elderly care nursing home in Bishop Caruana Road, adding that resourcing the facility must not result in “further privatisation” within the care sector.

The union said the project which came before the Development and Planning Commission recently lacks clarity around the tendering process for the build.

It said there are question marks over the apparent and preferred method of modular construction at a time that the construction industry in Gibraltar is dire need of projects.

The other concerns revolve around the future of existing elderly care facilities and also who will be staffing the new facility, a statement from the union said.

 Stuart Davies, Unite’s National Officer for Gibraltar, said: “The proposals for the new elderly care nursing home have been raised by the union in meetings with Government back in June and we wrote to the Chief Minister in July formally detailing our concerns and issues with the proposal.”

“Now that the DPC has recommended the plans, those concerns are brought into sharper focus.”

“The proposed modular design and the engagement with a Chinese partner on this build has prompted much head-scratching particularly at a time when local construction companies are in acute need of work. It therefore prompts legitimate questions around the tendering process for the works.”

Mr Davies said the longer-term issues are linked to the future of the existing elderly care nursing home footprint and also the resourcing of the new facility.

He said: “The union’s position is clear, any new facility must be staffed and resourced by public sector employees on decent terms and conditions of employment.”

“Any move to resource the new facility with staff employed by private sector care companies on inferior wages and conditions would represent a further privatisation of the care sector, such a proposal would be robustly opposed by the union.”

“Any new facility is the opportunity to extend quality, public sector jobs to those living and working in Gibraltar, we cannot praise and clap care workers one minute, but then the next state that they are not deserving of public sector contracts and conditions.”

“The union is seeking further dialogue with Government on this issue and to obtain assurances around the build and eventual resourcing of the proposed facility”.

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