Friday, February 11, 2005

Union urges Members to close ranks

Nurses dispute - Bossano rejects manipulation charge

The “intransigence” of the Nursing Section Committee spokesman Michael Netto is to be discussed by a District Committee meeting of the TGWU. They say he must abide by the rules and regulations of the union. The ongoing conflict which has had union members at odds with the union leadership has also seen an intervention by Opposition leader Joe Bossano who denies claims he is manipulating the situation.

The Union made clear last night that action taken by a “small minority of nurses” was an unofficial strike action not sanctioned by the Union. Instead they say this was a walk out organised by the Nursing Section Committee. The union said that an attempt by the District Committee to resolve the issue internally and halt the public exchange has proven useless.

The union said that members of the district committee had approached Mr Netto to end the “spectacle” and that he had agreed to sit at the table to resolve the differences. However they say that three hours later he issued a statement continuing attacks on the union leadership.


Meanwhile the GSLP (Gibraltar Socialist Labour Party) issued a statement commenting on “TGWU claims that the Nursing Committee has lashed out and criticized Joe Bossano and the GSLP (Gibraltar Socialist Labour Party) by alleging that it manipulates the majority of nurses.” “This accusation has not been refuted by the Committee, but the GSLP wants to make clear that it is not aware of such an accusation ever having been made by the Nursing Committee.

For the avoidance of doubt, the GSLP and Joe Bossano want to make clear that there is absolutely no truth in this accusation. At the same time, the GSLP wants to also make clear that its Offices are open to provide advice and assistance to any person, whether they have voted for the GSLP, the GSD (Gibraltar Social Democrats) or anyone else who wishes to bring anything to the notice of the Party, whether they are employed as nurses or in any other capacity,” said an Opposition statement.

They add that in the last couple of days a case in point has been the treatment of Contract Nurses in relation to transfers to Mount Alvernia. The GSLP add:

“One affected person has a letter from the Hospital Administration dated after the expiry of her contract last month stating that her contract would not be renewed unless she agreed to transfer to the Elderly Care Agency. At the same time she had received a letter from the Chief Minister saying that ‘The Government is not obliging any GHA Nursing Staff Member to move to Mount Alvernia.’ Clearly this statement is not true. Mr Caruana also says in his letter that Bullying Tactics are not being used, and leaves it to the readers of the letter to judge. Most people would think that to tell a single parent with 3 children that after working one year at St Bernard’s that she has the choice of being transferred to Mount Alvernia or going on the dole with 3 young children, is bullying.”

Mr Bossano had advised the person concerned that this action of the ultimatum given by the Hospital Administration, which expires today, should, in his view, be resisted.

“It is unacceptable for the Government to require someone in these circumstances to relinquish their rights to unfair dismissal proceedings for non-renewal of contract and this was the condition on which this person was taken on. It does not reflect well on the Government to impose this on local people seeking employment who are in no position to argue because they need the job. Mr Bossano contacted the District Officer and asked him to look into the case of this Union Member and believes that ACTSS will take the necessary steps to protect the rights of its member.”


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