Unite highlights Brexit and workers’ rights
Unite the Union, in its May Day message, has vowed to stand ‘shoulder to shoulder’ with the community with regards to the consequences that may arise from Brexit.
But, and notwithstanding this, Unite has challenged the Gibraltar Government to ensure that Employment Legislation is not eroded “citing Brexit as an excuse”.
“We fully understand that Brexit will take up an enormous amount of the Government’s time, and we appreciate the lengths that the Government are going to in defence of Gibraltar, its survival and future, but domestic issues cannot be pushed aside where we urge the Government to put a mechanism in place to address these concerns,” the union said.
On May Day, the most significant date in the trade union calendar, Unite commemorates the struggle of the many workers that have taken part in hard fought battles in pursuance of worker’s rights.
“Rights, that many take for granted,” it added citing the right to a pension, the 40 hr working week, injury at work benefits, maternity leave, health and safety legislation, anti-bullying legislation, minimum wage as well as other achievements.
According to Unite trade Unions, Political Parties, NGO’s, and individuals with progressive ideals will understand and support the importance of this special occasion.
“We all share these ideals, to protect these fundamental principles by maintaining ourselves vigilant that these hard won rights are not easily eroded.”
“It also serves for Trade Unions throughout the world, to reflect on what has been achieved to the benefit of its members and workers in general, whilst at the same time highlight their objectives in pursuing further improvements.”
On the subject of the re-election of Len McCluskey as General Secretary, Unite flagged how this was an objective that the Gibraltar Region had sought to make a reality given the support and benefits that it has enjoyed from his leadership both locally and internationally.
Unite has also highlighted a number of items ranging from private sector pensions to the re-engagement of high ranking civil servants as consultants as issues it will look to tackle.
With regards to the private sector Unite states that it will no longer tolerate the widening gap between the private and public sector and has committed to issues of a minimum wage commitment, occupational pensions and trade union recognition that it will be pushing the government to adopt.
On the public sector Unite advocates the elimination of the “discriminatory clause” in the pensions act that saw non-industrial workers able to retire at the age of 55 whereas industrial workers would have to retire at the age of 60.
“Unite does not make a distinction between blue and white collar workers,” it said.
Unite further flags a “discriminatory clause” in Gibraltar Law that states that young employees under the age of 20, whilst still paying Social Insurance Contributions, would not have these counted towards their pension.
“These would only be considered and start accruing towards their pot once they have reached the age of 20. This clause has to be eliminated given its explicit discrimination. We advocate that legislation should in line with that of the UK, starting at age 16.”