ERG/AOP supports Unite May Day message


Equality Rights Group/Action on Poverty (ERG/AOP) has iterated its support for Unite the Union’s May Day message this year.

‘The Union is absolutely right in calling for a range of demands to be reflected in Government’s policies. Without satisfying basic requirements for equality, there can be none, and talk of diversity and non-discrimination becomes window-dressing. Effective planning against inequality and management of the economy need to be intertwined and meshed if one isn’t, in effect, to undermine the other.

‘Top of the list, in our view, is the now long-overdue demand for modern legislation that will end the current situation wherein workers do not have an automatic right to be represented by their Union, whichever it may be. This has to be dealt with by Government at long last; there can be no more delays and the Union movement has been patient long enough. The absence of this basic right puts Gibraltar in an embarrassingly backward comparative position within the democratic world. The promise has been on the table for too long and action is now what is needed, this many years on.

‘Decent work conditions and fair pay are always at the core of all Union work, and that is only right. And already from 2019, ERG/AOP has been strongly campaigning alerting government as to what were already becoming visible signs three years ago that significant economic and social difficulties were on the way. The Covid-19 pandemic and now the war in Ukraine have aggravated those risks in the form of spiralling inflation, distorted supply and demand effects and other worries that are beginning to affect not only Gibraltar but the economic landscape worldwide.

‘Now, even more than in 2019, it is incumbent upon our leaders to pay heed. Political short-termism is not going to be enough to lend credence to cosmetic approaches to social equality. It is not a case of gestures but of structural measures addressing the big picture. At the root of mechanisms to deal with these circumstances is the machinery of Social Security, which has remained to all intents as it was originally conceived back in the 1950s. And the many patches are wearing thin.

‘For these reasons and more, ERG/AOP supports and hails Unite the Union and other Unions’ demands for solidarity and cohesion in negotiating the kinds of policies and measures that are essential for our society at large to reasonably navigate its way through to a solid future. That process may not be easy, and will certainly require all sides to speak honestly but objectively at what may or may not be achievable.

‘At the same time, ERG/AOP is conscious of the sterling work Government has been undertaking in relation to the challenges of negotiating a transition to Gibraltar’s post-Brexit future. It is, in our view, an exercise of responsibility to stand behind the Administration in this task at this moment. And we do. Because without an effective working sociopolitical infrastructure, our challenges will be magnified. It is for this reason that we have clearly both publicly and privately expressed our solidarity with Chief Minister Picardo and call on our community to stand together with Government at this moment in time.

‘Equally, we expect the Chief Minister and his government to respond with coherent concern for Gibraltar as a society if we are to be able to weather the bumps ahead. In particular, real measures, not empty sentiments, is what our elderly, and the economically and socially vulnerable merit.

‘In short,’ Chair Felix Alvarez stated, we must all be willing to act with a heightened sense of responsibility.’