Friday, April 29, 2005

No Gibraltar Labour discrimination at Cammell Laird, says Caruana

Chief Minister Peter Caruana has declared that the Gibraltar Government is not aware of the existence of evidence to justify any concern on discrimination against local workers in the employment policy at Cammell Laird.

Replying to questions from Opposition spokesman Fabian Picardo, Mr Caruana rejected suggestions that there was a trend by the company, who is in receipt of public monies for the disposal of waste, to favour the employment of cheaper outside labour over Gibraltarians, describing it as “speculation.”

Mr Caruana said that for there to be discrimination, there would have to be Gibraltarians who are “ready, able and willing” to work, and notwithstanding this the company should prefer to go to Bulgaria or Spain to employ someone because it was cheaper. He said Mr Picardo was not entitled to assume that this was the case.

The Chief Minister said that if this were happening, he would try and exercise proper influence with the company to localise recruitment as far as possible.

He also said that the Government would protect the local labour market in circumstances when it was legally possible to do so, and reminded the House that unlike UK, Gibraltar had not extended transitional labour rights to nationals from the new member states. He said there was little that could be done to control the use by companies of workers from other EU countries.

For his part Mr Picardo expressed concern, arguing that Gibraltarian casual workers, (he preferred to use this term rather than the Chief Minister’s ‘resident workers,’) amounted to less than half of those at Cammell Laird and said there was a disparate attitude on this issue between Government and Opposition. He also reiterated that it was his policy to ensure that locals should take up the jobs first.

Mr Picardo also stated that he was free to assume whatever he wanted, whether these assumptions were correct or not, and added that enough freedoms were being trampled already in Gibraltar.

Funicular Exchanges

Chief Minister Peter Caruana yesterday expressed disagreement with remarks from Opposition spokesman Fabian Picardo that Minister for Trade and Industry Joe Holliday should declare that he received a presentation from the funicular developer before he was appointed chairman of the Development and Planning Commission.

Mr Picardo had stated that Minister Holliday should make a declaration that he had received a presentation from the developers, prior to his appointment as chairman of the DPC. He said this should be done in a spirit of openness. The Opposition spokesman added that his words should not be taken to mean that he was suggesting that Mr Holliday had an interest in the project.

For his part Mr Caruana said that the DPC was not a tribunal that was completely independent of public administration. He said that Ministers who have obtained information or knowledge should not then have to declare it.

Mr Caruana added that most development projects that go to the DPC were the culmination of a process that involve presentations to a whole range of Government officers in the various stages of the planning process.

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