Tuesday, July 19, 2005

Unexpected breakthrough in Gibraltar contractorisation battle

Reid gives impetus to negotiations

Rt Hon Dr John Reid MP - Secretary of State for Defence
There was an unexpected breakthrough in the MoD-TGWU contractorisation saga last night, when UK Defence Minister Dr John Reid, (Ed's note: In fact he is THE Secretary of State for Defence! Not just a Minister! Subtle difference!) said he would be willing to study Union counter-proposals for cost saving and economies at the naval base.

This follows a meeting with a high-powered delegation of TGWU national officers led by Jack Dromey in London yesterday, at which no local union representative was present.

Speaking to the Chronicle a Ministry of Defence spokesman in UK said Dr Reid had described the meeting with the trade unionists as “very useful.” An MoD UK spokesman said:

“Dr Reid met a delegation of TGWU representatives last night to discuss human resources and other issues, including the outsourcing of services in Gibraltar.

Dr Reid will be responding in detail to existing Union claims with a view “to reaching an agreed way forward.”

Asked to comment on how this decision by Dr Reid will affect the contractorisation dispute, the spokesman said “nothing can be ruled out.”

Meanwhile TGWU District Officer Luis Montiel said last night that he had been in close contact with the UK union national officers who had briefed him on their meeting with Dr Reid.

Mr Montiel was prudent in his assessment of the Minister’s words. He said:

“We expect the Minister to make a detailed statement after which there will be a meeting between the UK TGWU national officers and MoD senior officials in UK.”

The District Officer said he was confident that the position of the local TGWU was being faithfully represented by the UK Union in trying to achieve a deal.

Earlier he confirmed that he had not been invited to attend the meeting with the new Secretary of State for Defence John Reid, and instead an invitation had been extended to TGWU-MoD convenor Victor Ochello.

He added the unions in Gibraltar are “and always have been” willing to meet Ministers and even co-operate with the local Command “in finding alternative solutions to the adopted privatisation plan to avoid causing untold damage to workers’ interest and the local economy.”

TGWU express confidence

Meanwhile Gibraltar’s TGWU delegation has expressed confidence after their return from the Union’s Biennial Delegates’ Conference in UK.

According to Mr Montiel, they had obtained “the wholehearted support of our UK colleagues against the Labour Government’s privatisation agenda.”

Mr Montiel explained that although there was no Gibraltar specific motion the conference, which is where T&G policies are made, had given its full backing. He said:

“Delegates have rejected the British Government’s liberalisation agenda (which favours the private sector over the public sector in the provision of services). Composite motions opposing privatisation plans that have damaging repercussions to the interests of workers and the community at large have been agreed as T&G policy. That policy gives strong endorsement to the position taken at local level against the privatisation attempt currently being pursued by MOD Gibraltar.

The Gibraltar position has the full support of Jack Dromey, Deputy General Secretary of the T&G and of Peter Allenson, the Public Sector National Officer. Both men will be presenting the Gibraltar case to the new Secretary of State for Defence, Dr John Reid.”

Related Links:

15 July 2005 - Reid briefed on Gibraltar MoD cuts

14 July 2005 - MoD refrain from appeal in Unions case

30 June 2005 - Contractorisation gets big 'NO'

29 June 2005 - Chief Justice gives Union go ahead to challenge cuts

19 April 2005 Unions declare a united front on MoD Contractorisation

12 April 2005 MPs urge Hoon to halt ‘Done Deal’

Gibraltar News Online Contractorisation Poll


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