Tuesday, March 01, 2005

"Farming out" MoD jobs means lower rights

Equality Rights organisation Gibraltar Gay Rights (GGR) has announced its committed support and concern for MoD workers following announced contractorisation plans for the local workforce. “The principle of solidarity is of paramount importance to us and we will support MoD workers in their fight against contractorisation regardless of social status and without discrimination. It is what we believe in and it is what we will fight for!” said the GGR.

"The MoD is Gibraltar’s top equality employer, providing a model for rights protection which, shamefully, is unmatched (to our knowledge) anywhere else on the Rock and which we would like to see installed throughout Gibraltar. All the more reason, therefore, why we too must be concerned at the impact the planned jobs privatisation will have on the rights of workers. Farming these jobs out of the MoD is a step backwards whichever way you look at it and it is our moral duty as an Equality organisation to stand by the ordinary people of Gibraltar on this, at the same time as we continue to unrelentlessly fight our own corner,” said Chairman Felix Alvarez objecting to jobs being ‘farmed out’ to the private sector in Gibraltar.

This will mean not just a loss in security to ordinary working people, it is also a very real cutback in the quality of their employment and benefits,” he said.

“I am currently awaiting clarification from the Commander British Forces as to whether employment conditions and benefits currently applicable to MoD public service employees will, in effect, be transferable in the contractorisation process given the fact that there may not be statutory provisions in law for them to be covered within the Gibraltar private sector. We are also asking for him to address the question of rights to MoD workers under both EU Directive 98/50/EC and the Transfer of Undertaking Regulations 1981, which are applicable law regarding transferability of rights,” he said.

Mr Alvarez went on to state:

Pensions is one area where there are substantial inequalities between MoD provisions and Gibraltar public and private service employees, and non-transferability will hit hard particularly at heterosexual workers in common-law relationships and their families as well as gay employees in established relationships. GGR supports Gibraltar Government and the T&G in their fight against Contractorisation, and whilst we are willing to give them the benefit of the doubt, the question is this: can MoD minority employees similarly depend on the support of both Gibraltar Government and the Union in fighting for their MoD equality rights in the event of any transfer to the private sector? Or will they, yet again, be relegated to the level of the worst hit amongst all the work force?”
“We will be looking out to see whether Messrs Caruana and Montiel treat their minority workforce with the respect, equality and concern they also deserve – or whether their needs and rights are left at the bottom of the losers pile! We have now also written to both the District and Branch Officers of the T&G expressing our support for the Union’s defence of workers’ rights and for information regarding the situation of minority MoD employees. We look forward to the Union’s response on these matters.

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