Saturday, June 25, 2005

Gibraltarian jobs ‘not affected by outside labour’

The increase in our total workforce, taking foreign labour into account, is not at the expense of local Gibraltarian labour Dr Bernard Linares, Employment Minister, told the House.

“This increase in foreign labour has often been decried by the Opposition. But in the light of the statistics before us one could be tempted to interpret their alarm as a form of demagoguery.

The Opposition may find it difficult to accept it but the fact remains that the increases in our labour market over recent years can only signify an expansion of our economy and not an encroachment into the opportunities of employment for Gibraltarians.”

He said that the statistics speak for themselves:

“Over the year 1993 the average number of unemployed Gibraltarians was 789. This figure begun to drop over the years to 456 in 1995. Since 1996 the yearly average of unemployed Gibraltarians has further dropped to 332 in 2004 and the average of the last 6 months of 2005 is 300.”

Dr Linares said that the trend revealed by all Government’s statistics which reflect a pattern of growth in the labour market in Gibraltar – in the region of 12.5% from 1985 to 1995 and from 1996 to 2004 of around 23.2% over a period of eight years. “This is an impressive trend in employment opportunities and, of course, a reflection of extraordinary economic growth,” he said.

The most exact employment figure for Gibraltar the Government can arrive at is that the total workforce in Gibraltar as at October 2004 lies between 17,774 (according to Employment Services registers) and 15,994 according to the Employment Survey.
And the Employment Survey also shows that the number of jobs in the Gambling and Betting activities has increased over the year by 33.8%.

East Europeans

As a result of the accession of 10 Central European states into the European Union as from May the 1st 2004 Gibraltar is in the throes of the challenge Dr Linares had warned of last year.

“There are thousands of citizens from these countries roaming around this part of the world, particularly in Spain, knocking on our door seeking access to employment in Gibraltar.

We have adopted available derogation powers whereby these persons require work permits to obtain legal employment,” he said.

This means that an employer has first to make adequate efforts to find an entitled worker. But the Government is talking to the business sector because of needs, especially in summer, of the catering industry.

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