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Unite causing ‘unnecessary distress’ for employers, Chamber says

The Gibraltar Chamber of Commerce has accused Unite the Union causing “unnecessary distress and alarm” in its allegations that local employers are using the Covid-19 pandemic as an excuse to make redundancies.

It called for more responsibility from union leaders, adding that the push for higher wages and benefits may come at a cost of people’s livelihoods.

Unite the Union last week said it was aware of nearly 100 local companies seeking to make job cuts and make staff redundant in various sectors across Gibraltar.

It said that company directors “should be willing to incur reasonable financial losses” in order to safeguard jobs.

But the Chamber said that in doing so, the union also seeks to increase the burden of costs for local employers at a time when many are struggling to make ends meet.

“It is utterly reprehensible for the union to allege that companies are using the current pandemic to make workers redundant unnecessarily,” the Chamber said.

“To do so would cost employers even more money which many do not have.”

“If this were the case, who would do the work?”

The Chamber of Commerce said the majority of local companies have seen a significant fall in revenue, but added that the union “seems to think the sensible thing to do is to add to a company’s costs”.

It said that it makes “no sense” to add to a company’s costs, and the Chamber askes for evidence to show employers were targeting the working class.

“There is none because it is not true,” the Chamber added.

The Chamber also said it was “remarkable” that Unite called for a special allowance of sick leave for workers who were either self-isolating or recovering from coronavirus.

“Having been proved wrong that progressive increases in minimum wage will lead to job losses, the union has decided to double down,” the Chamber added.

“It is now calling for employers to pay staff to stay at home on full pay on a separate type of sick leave. Remarkable.”

“Even Karl Marx understood that for productive output there must be productive input.”

But the Chamber is asking the union to look at what is happening in Gibraltar and elsewhere in Europe.

“We ask union leaders to be responsible and to be careful that their push for ever-higher wages and other benefits does not come at the cost of people’s jobs and livelihoods.”

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