Unite: "A Year On From Lockdown, Reasons For Optimism, But Do Not Forget The Contribution Of Workers"

Unite, the union, have issued a statement a year on from the original lockdown highlighting the contribution of workers throughout the pandemic that "must not be forgotten in terms of any post-pandemic plan".

Stuart Davies, National Officer for Unite Gibraltar said: “This week marks a year on from the original lockdown and it has been a tumultuous twelve months for all living and working in Gibraltar, as well as around the world. Once we truly emerge from the suffocating grip of the pandemic there will no doubt be the appropriate and fitting opportunity to mark the contribution of everyone in the fight against Covid and also to commemorate those that have sadly died as a result of this virus. There are clear reasons for optimism and the vaccine programme has been a success, the union’s message to those that have not yet been vaccinated is where you can “get a jab” 

“The fight against the pandemic has come at a great cost, those that have lost their lives and the devastating impact on their families, the loss of civil liberties, the loss of jobs or businesses, the inability to meet and socialise with friends and families, the tireless commitment on the frontline of workers across all industries, both the public and private sectors, the list goes on. It has been an unprecedented year for Unite, dealing with more issues, greater challenges and levels of redundancies not witnessed in recent history, the union’s representatives have worked tirelessly to maintain effective representation of members despite having challenges of their own and in their jobs. Workersmore than ever have recognised the benefit of collective and individual representation from a union, in 2020 Unite witnessed the second year of consecutive net membership growth and we continue to grow in 2021. The pandemic has though robbed the union movement of some of its key functions through the civil contingencies, the inability to meet face to face in large numbers or to protest. The union clearly understands the restrictions and the key role that these play in containing the virus and keeping people safe; however the pandemic has caused a democratic deficit. Unite have made a number of representations to No.6 around the need to relax these restrictions at the earliest opportunity to recover this deficit; however when the public health advice allows and when safe to do so.

“There is much commentary now as minds turn to a post-pandemic plan, how to revitalise Gibraltar and how to repair, then grow the economy. The union’s position has remained consistent on this point and that is that austerity is not the answer, it has not worked elsewhere, there needs to be a coherent and robust economic plan for recovery and growth. What is absolutely clear is that those workers, the ones that were clapped throughout 2020, those that kept shops open and stocked, those that kept the economy operating at a time of high anxiety around Covid in both the public and private sectors must not pay the price and must not have their contributions forgotten”.