A Mixed Bag Budget, But Grave Concerns Around Vacancies Says Unite
Unite, the union for workers in Gibraltar, says the Chief Minister's comments on vacancies have raised "grave concerns".
A statement from Unite follows below:
Unite, the union for workers in Gibraltar, today (21st July 2021) commenting on the budget presented by the Chief Minister has raised grave concerns in respect of the comments made that due to the predicted deficit that there is no funding provided for vacant posts to be filled in the coming financial year.
There were positive announcements around the increase in the minimum wage, plus other allowances and the introduction into law of trade union recognition, but the position on vacancies and also seeking dialogue with the unions around early exit packages off-sets that positivity.
Unite Gibraltar have stated: “The budget is very much a mixed bag with positive announcements on increases to key allowances and also the maintenance of the increase to the minimum wage. The positive trajectory of the minimum wage and the next two programmed inflationary increases should feed into work around the establishment of the Gibraltar Living Wage. The commitment for trade recognition to finally enter into law is a significant and welcome development for industrial relations and collective bargaining in the private sector.
“The union does recognise the acute impact that Covid has and continues to have on revenues; however there have been repeated commitments that Covid would not be repaid with austerity. Reducing headcount through not filling vacancies and considering the introduction of early exit packages represents cuts to the public sector. Not filling vacancies and then looking to reduce headcount further will impact services and service users, in addition workers delivering those frontline services will be further stretched and placed under pressure if job vacancies remain unfilled. Put simply not filling vacancies and seeking to exit further workers from the sector is a false economy.
“The allowances for recruiting new staff and investing in training for workers will hopefully provide a boost for private sector employment following a decrease of over 1,200 private sector jobs, employers and employees in the sector need this type of targeted assistance to flourish as the economy repairs in the wake of Covid.
“This is the second year of no cost of living increase and we have seen increases to social security contributions and voluntary contributions to pensions which have a disproportionate impact on the lower earners and particularly those working in the private sector. Unite have made representations to No.6 in respect of these increases and will be pursuing further dialogue with Government in respect of the budget announcements, as well as seeking the views and feedback of all our members across both the private and public sectors”.