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Unite says more needed on minimum wage

Photo by Johnny Bugeja

Unite the Union welcomed some of the measures announced in the Chief Minister’s 2024 Budget speech but said most did not go far enough to help people on the minimum wage or those most in need. 

Unite had expected the minimum wage to surpass £9 an hour and edge closer to £10 against the backdrop of the cost-of-living crisis and given larger wage increases in the UK. 

Unite said increases in the old age pension and disability benefits will in part address the inflationary pressures being experienced by the lowest earners in Gibraltar, but insisted the rise in the minimum wage remained “artificially low”. 

On public sector pay, the union welcomed the Government honouring the two-year pay deal but said its members would be disappointed that consideration to improve the offer was not taken onboard.  

It said the Chief Minister’s Budget address to Parliament suggested that Gibraltar was experiencing economic recovery and that this indicated that further support could be afforded to working people, something that Unite will continue to pursue. 

“The increase in the minimum wage bringing it up to £8.90 per hour falls way short of our expectations and we don’t believe that this increase will help to fight off current inflationary pressures especially for those with the lowest paying jobs in the economy, our target continues to be a minimum wage that surpasses £10 per hour if the minimum wage is to come anywhere near a living wage,” a spokesperson for the union said.

“The union welcomes the return to 25% of personal taxation although we are critical of the social insurance rise together with electricity and government housing rental which in some cases have been increased above inflation.”  

“The honouring of the second year of the deal is welcomed specifically on the consolidation of the payments however emphasis needs to be made that we indeed pushed for an improved pay deal to that already agreed for public sector workers.” 

“We welcome Government’s commitments regarding the application of the parity principles benefiting those on low pay in the public sector however our understanding is that the entry point should be over £23,000 as per UK counterparts and the increase announced in parliament today fails to meet this and merely applies the already negotiated increase for all of the Public Sector.”  

“The union, its shop stewards and members will deliberate on the wider budget in the coming days with a focus on the effect that the measures will have on our public and private sector members.”  

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