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Unite defends BCA action in face of ‘anti-democratic’ critics

Unite the Union has again defended the industrial action carried out by its members at the Borders and Coastguard Agency, accusing critics of adopting an “anti-democratic” position that ignored workers’ fundamental rights.

Unite also said it had received support from Spanish unions UGT and CCOO after the action, was slammed by business organisations in Gibraltar and representatives of cross-border workers following lengthy delays at the border and the airport.

Unite nonetheless confidence that the issues of concern to its BCA members would be resolved and that there would be no need to escalate the industrial action.

“In respect of criticism made by certain organisations and pressure groups via press statements, Unite believes that some were made with their anti-democratic mentality and others because they feel obliged to take Government’s stance,” Unite said.

“It’s always much easier to criticise workers.”

Unite’s BCA members received support from Spanish unions UGT and CCOO following a meeting last week.

Both expressed solidarity with the BCA workers taking selective industrial action in pursuance of their claims, offering their support wherever possible should this be required.

Angel Serrano, UGT’s general secretary in the Campo de Gibraltar, told the Chronicle that workers had a right to take industrial action if they felt it necessary and that UGT would always defend that right, a position it shared with Unite and CCOO.

“Unfortunately, industrial action of any type always has an impact on communities,” he said.

Unite said all BCA workers were “most professional” in safeguarding and securing Gibraltar’s entry points and deserved their claims to be heard, “as opposed to being criticised by entities who seem to ignore the fundamental rights of ordinary working people.”

“Unite the Union on behalf of its members once again feels obliged to publicly apologise for all the inconveniences the selective industrial action at the frontier may have caused,” Unite said.

“However, it also firmly remains committed to continue its fight in its endeavour to safeguard the right for any worker to take industrial action whenever it deems necessary.”

A further meeting has been arranged for all three unions to meet at the end of June.

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