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Unite urges consultation on Community Care changes

Unite the Union has warned of the “unintended consequences” of changes to the Community Care scheme in a letter to the Chief Minister and to the Gibraltar Community Care Limited chairman.

The union believes that the proposed changes to the community care officer scheme could “impact negatively” on Gibraltar’s employment market, and could also have an effect on those individuals “that had been seeking to rely on community care in its current format when paid employment comes to an end”.

In its letter, the union said it highlighted the “sense of anger and disappointment” of members in response to coverage in the press and exchanges on social media forums about the prospective changes.

The charity made the announcement after it said the system had become “unfair” and the proposed changes will mean that new applicants will be means tested for employment income and pensions.

Unite said it has once again raised concerns regarding the lack of consultation regarding the proposed changes to community care moving forwards and in the letter stated that the union is “also concerned around some of the messaging in respect of the operation of the scheme”.

It said an “inaccurate picture has been painted of those participating to create a sense of widespread misuse of the charity’s resources and therefore build support for reform”.

The Unite executive met on March 4 to discuss the issue and said the feedback it has received from members has been “overwhelmingly negative”, with concerns over the proposed realignment and how it is being handled, such as no consultation held with stakeholders.

While Unite accepts that Gibraltar Community Care Limited is an independent charity, it said it is “inconceivable” that the announcement was made without consulting the Government.

Stuart Davies, Unite national officer for Gibraltar, said: “Following consultation with activists and members on the proposals around community care the union has today repeated the eminently reasonable call for a pause regarding the changes and full consultation with relevant stakeholders, including Unite.”

“The union believes that full consultation and dialogue