UNITE the union in Gibraltar has welcomed the ‘very positive step’ made by the government to make sure private companies recognise unions.
Unite Gibraltar National Officer Stuart Davies said it was ‘long-awaited legislation’ but at the same time pointed out some key issues with the new rules.
Gibraltar’s left-liberal alliance brought in the Employment (Trade Union Recognition) Regulations 2023 after years of promises.
“This long awaited legislation that has been a standing manifesto commitment of the Government of Gibraltar has finally been entered into law,” Davies said.
“This is a very positive step forwards particularly for those members in the private sector that currently do not enjoy collective bargaining.
The new rules give workers the right to get the help of unions in wage negotiations if enough of them are union members.
Workers can now bring union representatives to disciplinary and grievance hearings.
The regulations also give union members protection from being blacklisted by employers when they take part in these sorts of hearings.
But the union pointed out that now 15% of the workers have to be union members as opposed to 10% in order to make an application for union recognition.
And now, instead of 25%, at least half of the workers need to be unionised to allow it to act in bargaining for wages.
The rules also remove a section that gives union representatives protection from discrimination for taking part in union work.
“The union are concerned around key parts of the regulations, including the complete removal of the section protecting union representatives from discrimination for undertaking their union activities,” Davies said.
Unite’s Christian Duo said this legislation would be useful in wage struggles like the current one at Morrison’s.
“Only a week ago workers in Morrisons faced the threat from their employer to tear up the collective agreement between the employer and union,” Duo said.
“Unite have stated repeatedly that good employers have nothing to fear in relation to these regulations and the union has many constructive and mutually beneficial relationships with private sector employers,” he added.
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