Friday, January 28, 2005

MOD “misrepresents true position” say GSP

Dispute deepens

Gibraltar Services Police staff association has questioned whether the MoD assertion that it is committed to a good employment relationship is not “an empty promise.” In a statement issued yesterday the association argues that the true position is that the MoD acts “as judge and jury in its own cause without entering into proper discussions” while insisting on using the “ineffective Whitley procedures” to resolve disputes.

A GSP staff association spokesman said:

It is not our intention to conduct detailed debates on the substantive issues through the media. However the MOD’s statement requires to be answered as it seeks to misrepresent through the use of disputed details what is the true position. We have stated that the purpose of the silent protest (which has been carried out impeccably and with dignity by our members) is for the purpose of achieving an effective consultation dispute and resolution procedure through which the substantive issues can be resolved. This is not controversial as such a procedure has been in place for our UK counterparts for a considerable period of time.

We welcome the MOD’s commitment to good employment relationship but do not welcome their continued insistence on using the present Whitley procedure we have described as being ineffective. We do not understand why the GSP cannot have a consultation and dispute resolution procedure like its UK counterparts.

We reject the suggestion that there has been any substantive internal consultation, legal or ministerial correspondence. The internal consultation is conducted through the present procedure in which the MOD is judge and jury of its own position. There has been no legal debate between the parties’ respective legal advisors as the MOD’s stated position is that it does not deal with legal advisors. There has been no ministerial correspondence on any substantive issue and indeed the Ministers of State have refused to meet.

For the avoidance of doubt the “mistakes” (possibly a euphemistic word) referred to in the MOD’s statement are of their own making. Those “mistakes” have ramifications that the MOD has refused to discuss. The litigation mentioned deals only with one aspect of the ramifications from those “mistakes”. The MOD also refers to its supposed generosity in seeking to recover only the last 12 months of the alleged over payment. It does not say its own rules prevent recovery over 12 months. The MOD does not say that we have raised the question whether as a result of their “mistakes” they are entitled legally to recover.

Therefore the true position is that as judge and jury in its own cause, without entering into proper discussions, refusing to reconcile a contradictory position, and by reason of its own “mistakes” the MOD says it is firm in its commitment to recover an alleged overpayment. Can this be described as a good employment relationship particularly when the MOD appears to insist in using the current ineffective Whitley procedure to resolve disputes?

The Minister of State, Ivor Caplin, has recently talked of a more business like approach. We share that view and the GSPSA has proposed a draft for a new consultation and dispute resolution procedure (based on the procedure in place for our UK colleagues) and we will see whether or not the MOD’s desire for a good employment relationship is merely an empty promise
.

No Moratorium on deductions, says Caplin

The Ministry of Defence will not be placing a moratorium on the deduction of Gibraltar Service Police salaries until discussions between the GSP Association and their solicitor have been concluded, a British Government spokesman has said in the House of Commons. Secretary of State for Defence Ivor Caplin declared that the GSP Association has been aware of the Department’s intention to recover the overpayment of rent allowance since June 2003. Labour MP Andrew Mackinlay also asked on what occasions in the negotiations between his Department and the GSP Association his Department formally raised its intention to deduct moneys from police officers’ pay in relation to rent and other allowances. In reply Mr Caplin said that officials in Gibraltar wrote to the Chairman of the GSPSA in February 2004 setting out their position in detail and explaining that recovery action would only be taken for the last 12 months overpayment. He added:

The subject was discussed again at the GSPSA Whitley meeting in May 2004. In June 2004 Officials wrote to each individual affected by the overpayment explaining that recovery action would be taken. A subsequent letter was sent in November 2004 as a result of a recalculation, reconfirming the intent to deduct monies owed.



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