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Unite calls for action on use of agency workers

Unite the Union has called on the Gibraltar Government to stop “undermining” the public service through its continuing recruitment of agency workers.

The union, along with entities such as the GSD, has long been a stringent critic of the Government’s “rapid proliferation” of agency workers in this way.

In the run up to Christmas, Union representatives staged a walk along Main Street calling for fair and equal rights for all workers, and an end to short-term contracts in both the private and public sectors.

And, in a New Year message summarizing its wish-list to all political parties contesting the 2019 general election, Unite has included the issue among its key priorities for the forthcoming year.

“The Government needs to stop undermining the Public Service by its continuing recruitment of agency workers,” Gillian Birkett, Regional Officer for Unite the Union in Gibraltar, stated in Unite’s New Years message.

“The rapid proliferation of such, compounds a two-tier workforce in which the agency workers are the ones with very few employment rights.”

“It is immoral that the Government (less one that calls themselves Socialist), perpetuates a system that denies workers their entitled employment rights through legal loopholes.”

“The current practice is destroying the coherence of the public sector by the introduction of second-class employees and demoralising the existing public sector employees — this needs to stop, as promised by the Chief Minister last August in the Gibraltar Chronicle.”

“We need action, not sympathetic words.”

In a wide-ranging message that also covered issues such as vocational training schemes, Unite said there is a clear need to create a Joint Economic Forum, in which the Government, Employer’s and Trade Unions “can work together for the good of Gibraltar”.

“Each social partner represents an important part of our community, and we all want the best for our society.”

“For this to work access to existing Government information on economic matters and statistical data is a must.”

See full opinion piece on page four of today's print or e-edition.