Wednesday, May 11, 2005

Picardo critical of MoD’s “unacceptable attitude”

GSLP/Libs spokesman for employment Fabian Picardo has declared that the decision by the Ministry of Defence to deduct wages from workers who supported a walk-out from the base in March, is unacceptable.

In a statement to the Chronicle, Mr Picardo said it is becoming increasingly clear that Gibraltar is going to have to show the MOD its teeth.

“The workers and the unions can count on the Opposition to do whatever they think is necessary to protect their jobs,” he said. Mr Picardo continued:

“The attitude of the MOD is unacceptable.

The people who demonstrated did so to protect their jobs and livelihoods. The demo was designed to impress the workers’ strength of feeling on the visitors to Gibraltar who are responsible for the ongoing process of contractorisation.

To deduct an hour’s pay from workers for defending their jobs, and expressing a desire to see a continued, strong MOD presence on the Rock, is astounding. If what the MOD is trying to do is pick a fight by behaving in this manner, they may yet live to regret it.

As for the MoD’s photographing of protestors, that is really no more than a transparent attempt to intimidate the demonstrators. In this respect I think that the MOD is losing the plot. What threat is it anyway to the employees to photograph them as protestors when it is proposed that they are soon to be sacked from the MOD?

The fact is that it is the MOD that must understand that it and its officers in Gibraltar are the ones under scrutiny - not the men and women of the workforce that are properly and lawfully defending their jobs.

The MOD has to realise that it is doing business in Gibraltar subject to our trade union legislation and not in the UK where union rights have been substantially eroded. The sooner that the defence establishment here wakes up to that the better!

Our message to the MOD is clear - you can photograph the workers as much as you like, but we are watching every move you make!”

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