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Unite highlight ‘biggest wage squeeze’ in newsletter

Photo by Eyleen Gomez.

Unite the Union has this week kickstarted a campaign to raise awareness of the cost of living crisis, describing the effect as the “biggest wage squeeze”.

A leaflet was launched on the back of this year’s budget announcement and implementations of new expenses.

The union has also commissioned the expertise of two economists who will undertake an economic and political analysis of Gibraltar with the help of its General Secretary.

“A lot of work is being done behind the scenes,” Christian Duo, of Unite, told the Chronicle.

“The reality of the situation is that this is the biggest wage squeeze at least in my time and workers on the lowest pay spectrum are finding it hard to put a plate of food on the table.”

“Remember this is only the beginning of the implemented measures.”

“If we don’t put some remedies for the current situation, it will be even worse in a year’s time.”

“All workers are feeling the pinch, with the rising cost of goods, petrol etc which is astronomical is affecting the whole community.”

“We call on all political parties to debate on solutions enough on the past regarding overspend and an economic recovery plan that does not hit on the pockets of working people and the most vulnerable in our community.”

Mr Duo said the union has held a number of meetings with officers, convenors and industrial branch officials and the concerns were raised with the Chief Minister, Fabian Picardo.

During the meeting the Chief Minister offered to look at hardship cases and those in the public sector who could be below the UK parity margins, Mr Duo said.

“This is something we welcome but not enough,” he added.

“Note in an exercise conducted by Shop Stewards and corroborated by the economist what comes to light is that the 40% differentials in basic pay of public sector with their UK counterparts which has been quoted by Government on number of occasions is not the reality of the majority of public sector.”

Mr Duo said that while this campaign is aimed at public sector pay, the union is leading on pay negotiations in the private sector as well.

He said that some employers have “recognised the situation and have given a pay rise without the union’s involvement”.

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