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Unite begins balloting public sector workers ahead of pay talks with Govt

Photo via Unite the Union.

Unite the Union began balloting its public sector members on Monday against the backdrop of imminent pay negotiations with the Gibraltar Government.

The union is seeking a mandate for industrial action should the negotiations not prosper.

Unite told members that its Public Sector Branch Committee had been engaged with the Gibraltar Government since January 2022 to highlight concerns about the impact of rising inflation, the cost-of-living crisis and what it described as “the subsequent erosion” of public sector pay and conditions.

Unite had already launched a campaign on the issue while seeking “meaningful negotiations” with the government, adding public sector pay had not increased for three years.

“After a year of lobbying Unite has had a breakthrough in the form of a commitment by HM Gibraltar of Gibraltar to engage with all unions during times of deficit by way of an Employer - Trade Unions Public Sector Negotiating forum,” Unite told members in a bulletin.

“The first of which would happen in preparation for the 2023-2024 budget.”

“This would provide the union with the ability to significantly influence the budget announcement and make effective representations for our public sector membership.”

“It is necessary that, as a strong union, we positively lobby HM Government of Gibraltar for the upcoming budget (2023-2024), with the clear objective of easing the current levels of hardship and suffering that many of our members are experiencing.”

David Banda, chairperson of Unite’s public sector branch, told GBC that the ballot would ensure the union was prepared for any eventuality arising from the talks with the government.

He said Unite was entering the talks “in good faith” and hoped to secure “the best possible deal” that worked for both its members and the government, but that employees wanted “some sort of pay increase”.

The ballot paper asked Unite public sector members whether they would be willing to take “industrial and/or strike action” if the negotiations were unsatisfactory and failed to reach agreement.

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