Press Release No: 207/2001
7 December 2001
Reports that postal workers are to receive a £2000 Incentive Bonus for clearing Christmas mail are incorrect and do not properly reflect the terms of an interim agreement reached recently with the TGWU on behalf of postal workers
A composite bonus payment of around £2000 has been agreed. However, this is being paid in lieu of substantial current overtime and existing Christmas bonus payments arrangements and therefore converts the anticipated overtime cost over the period into a performance related bonus payment scheme. It is not exclusive to delivery of Christmas mail. Part of the bonus payment relates to the clearing of a backlog of undelivered mail that has again accumulated over an extended period of time up to mid-November, in keeping with arrangements previously negotiated for the clearance of accumulation of mail. This accumulation of mail has now been cleared.
The remainder of the bonus payment is linked to the clearance of Christmas mail and, is subject to performance in the delivery of mail. Absences of staff delivering mail, whether approved or not, will result in deductions from payment of the bonus.
Negotiations leading to a complete restructure of the postal service are at a very advanced stage. If brought to a successful conclusion the quality of the postal service in Gibraltar will improve very significantly.
The bonus payment to clear up the current backlog has also to be seen in the context of these negotiations and of the need to keep the present, wholly unsatisfactory, service functional in the meantime, while negotiations for the new postal service are concluded.
The new postal service arrangements under negotiation will be based on proper levels of manning and resources, modernised working and management practices and guaranteed "next day" delivery for all mail which will avoid these backlogs from building up in the future. A significant element of the new pay package will be "service quality" related. If the current negotiations can be brought to a satisfactory conclusion the result will be to the benefit of the postal service user, postal service worker and postal service management alike. Government and staff representatives remain engaged in constructive negotiations to that end.
6 December 2001
SITUATION AT MAIN SEWER
Following the discharges of sewage that occurred into the Port area in mid October of this year, the Sewer Section of the Gibraltar Government initiated a series of investigations to determine the cause of the problem, believed to be an obstruction of the Main Sewer. In parallel with this, measures were put in place to maintain the flow within the main sewer over the area where an obstruction had been identified, this being at location immediately to the south of the junction between Rosia Road and Red Sands Road. This has necessitated the mobilisation of a number of powerful pumps, installed at strategic locations the along sewer, the purpose of which is to intercept the flow prior to it reaching the location of the obstruction and over-pumping the effluent back into the sewer at a location past the obstruction, It is precisely this activity that has been on going during the past weeks along Rosia Road.
The investigations undertaken have revealed that there is a collapse of a section of the Main Sewer at the location previously identified. The full extent of the collapse is not yet known although it is believed to be significant enough far it not to be possible to tackle the same from within the sewer itself. There is therefore, a need to access the area of the collapse from above and preparations are being made for this to occur. Due to the difficulty in undertaking such works, it is unlikely that these works would commence before mid January next year. Such difficulties arise principally from the fact that the level of the main sewer is approximately 10m down from the road level, work is to be undertaken within a major live sewer with all the precautions that need to be taken in this respect and the significant amount of preparatory design and other associated work that needs to be undertaken prior to initiating any such works. During this time, the current pumping arrangements will have to remain in place and every effort will be made to reduce the inconvenience to the public principally arising from the unpleasant smells that regrettably occur in the area. Every effort is being made to reduce such smells by installing temporary covers to the open manholes and the use of industrial deodorising agents, although the latter has proved to be of little effectiveness when used recently.
GSLP party political broadcast
In addressing you tonight on behalf of the GSLP have to concentrate on the crisis in our relations with the British Government, which daily dominates our lives, and is the worst situation we have ever faced in our history. What is at stake is the future of our homeland, which is currently at greater risk from Spain than even in the days of Franco.
How have we in Gibraltar got ourselves into this mess? We believe conflicting signals from Gibraltar since 1996, have much to do with it.
Let us go back in time 17 years ago the Brussels agreement created a negotiating process, which would solve all the differences between the United Kingdom and Spain over Gibraltar and settle our future, in accordance with the UN resolutions.
These resolutions, originally rejected by the UK called for such a negotiating process hat would decolonise Gibraltar by agreement with Spain and protect our interests in a post colonial Gibraltar but not respect our wishes.
The GSLP has always condemned this. We campaigned in 1984 for a referendum to block the process. We fought and won the 1988 elections with a pledge to stop Brussels and stop the airport deal, and we did both.
The UK Government never once in our eight years, even attempted to do a deal with Spain on shared sovereignty, power sharing commissions, joint control of our airport, or any of the other ares being put forward at the moment.
We have been telling the people of Gibraltar that Brussels was to get Spanish restrictions removed, in exchange for letting them get a foot in the door and once they do, we will never get them out again. Let there be no doubt about this.
This is not co-operation, this is capitulation to blackmail. What Brussels stands for is a forum with an agenda for negotiating and settling our future as a people and the future of country. It is not an innocent dialogue about cosy neighbourly relationships.
Those who in the past have minimised Brussels stood for, are now using our arguments. They have been proved wrong and we have been proved right this, however, does not solve the problem for us. Gibraltar needs leadership that can only come from people who are in politics because they love Gibraltar and re prepared to defend it to the end.
We have asked for a referendum, because the issue facing us is whether there is support for the UK to negotiate a deal with Spain , which will, next summer, put us in a situation where we have to choose between accepting its terms, in the knowledge that it leads to an eventual Spanish Gibraltar , or we reject it, in the knowledge that Spain will then be able to continue putting pressure on us and the deal will be sitting on the shelf waiting for our 'yes' vote.
Our priority is to prevent this no-win scenario, and we do not see any evidence that the Government has a strategy to achieve this, or have they declared this to be their objective.
As well as saying 'no' to Mr Hain and to Spain we have to say what we want, and this is why the new Gibraltar constitution should be put to the UK early next year.
A referendum asking the people to reject their plea for support for an Anglo Spanish deal and instead back the consensus constitution achieved by Gibraltar's elected leaders, is the best weapon to campaign on to stop the deal.
Spain today is more confident than ever. Because accommodating their demands has only served to wet Spain's appetite. We have always argued that showing weakness to Spain has this effect. Others, here, have ignored our warnings.
Spain believes she is being magnanimous by offering facilities for our patients in Spanish hospitals; Mr Hain has just given this as an example of a benefit for us in the foreign affairs committee. Why do they believe this? Because of the great deal of publicity Dr Bernard Linares gave to his visit to Seville a few months ago, which was promoted as a major breakthrough, because he had obtained facilities in Andalusian hospitals for our patients. There were articles and letters full of praise for what he had achieved. The result is that Spain now uses to argue how much goodwill they are showing us and how ungrateful we are in not wanting to let them have a say in taking us over. These facilities, I may add, which we are paying a hefty price for. They are not a gift. Lord Chamberlain said back in 1903 "is it not worth our while to maintain and increase our trade with the Colonies rather than depend upon the crumbs that fall from the foreign mans table"
Why are we accepting crumbs disguised as gifts when they are things that by right, in today's democracy, we are entitled to. We are not the useless mouths that England called us during the war. We are not the parasites that live off Spain as Madrid calls us now. We are tired of insults, tired of being put down by even the person in the street who has been indoctrinated to despise us. Tired of being harassed, tired of the overhanging threat of the possibility of being robbed of our heritage. We are a proud decent hard working people who want no more and no less than any other European is entitled to.
Let us hope that those who previously said that we were 'scare mongering', that we were dinosaurs living in the past, that we were painting a picture which was not there, recognise that on the contrary we have been proved right throughout and that we can and we have to all unite on a common course to stop the deal before it is completed.
To achieve this we need to stand up and be counted. No more hiding our heads in the sand. We owe it to the memory of many, who including my Father, defended his hometown at g personal sacrifice, we owe it to our children our grandchildren, we owe it to ourselves by God, we owe it to Gibraltar. I thank you.
The I.L.F. Outlines Policy Objectives
In response to numerous requests recently from members of the public, The I.L.F. has issued the following summary of the Party's objectives for Gibraltar.
1. Devolved Integration for Gibraltar within a decentralised, federal U.K. This must include an MP at Westminster and a MEP in Europe. We also urge the appointment of a Gibraltarian life Peer in the House of Lords.
2. Amicable co-existence with Spain but only if based on mutual respect. This should Include the provisions of the recently publicised BAEZ proposals.
3. Eradication of all forms of unfair social discrimination in Gibraltar, whether based on ethnicity, gender, sexual orientation or disability.
4. A Proportional Representation voting system for all elections in Gibraltar.
5. The minimum age for voting in Gibraltar to be reduced to sixteen years.
6. Secure residence rights for long-term non-EU residents, including (but not restricted to ) those of Moroccan or Indian ethnic origin.
7. Greater rights for employees in decisions at work. Greater encouragement for profit-sharing schemes, workers' co-operatives and self-employment.
8. A new combined 'social credits' system of tax benefits and insurance so that each citizen has just one 'financial account' with the State.
9. Greater commitment to the environmental and ecological foundations of life. Wherever possible, much more use of renewable and non-polluting energy sources and social practices.
10. Opposition to all forms of nuclear power and weapons.
Last Friday the ILF held another of their popular Social Evenings for members and supporters. The gathering was held at Ministers Restaurant, a venue that the Party has used for such occasions before. ILF Party Leader, Lyana Armstrong-Emery said afterwards
"This was our most successful Social Evening to date. It's Important that in the midst of all our recent political activity in London, Madrid and Gibraltar we can sometimes take the time to discuss our plans and activities In a less formal way. "As well as party members and their families, there were also representatives present from some of the organisations forming part of the March for Justice Committee. The MFJC is a coalition which includes the ILF, MCA, GIRA, GGR and DOCRA. The Committee works to Improve civil and residence rights for Gibraltarians and for other long-term residents in Gibraltar, mainly ( but not exclusively) from the Moroccan and Indian communities. Mrs Armstrong-Emery confirmed that her Party will be holding another such evening in the early New Year.
The I.L.F. also announced today that they are in the process of extensively updating and developing
there internet website at www.inlibfor.cjb.net
One of the Innovations is to invite members of the public (whether ILF supporters or not ) to provide increased phone or Email feedback regarding the Party's programme and activities.
Marie Lou Guerrero as vice chairman of the ESBA attended a meeting in Guimaraes, Portugal, at the weekend. The meeting was officially opened by the Secretary of State for Industry and Commerce in Portugal together with the local mayor. The press were very interested in the presence of the Minister and considerable coverage of the opening took place.
The ESBA members from Portugal took the opportunity to raise issues with the Minister which were confirmed as general issues for many of the members in other European countries. These included inequality of treatment of SMEs when compared with the larger entities and the problems being encountered in the release of funding both from Governments and EU facilities.
Whilst in Guimaraes and at the request of the Mayor, the members of ESBA attended a ceremony at the monument of D. Afonso Henriques. Brian Prime, president and Marie Lou Guerrero, vice president took the opportunity to lay a wreath to celebrate the Restoration of Portugal from
Spain. This is an annual event which has been celebrated since 1640.
The local contingent of Marie Lou, Derek Ghio and Ken Robinson took every opportunity with both the Portuguese and the other European delegates to remind them of the similarity with the current situation in Gibraltar.
This was duly noted by those present and we were pleased when the Minister for State confirmed his interest in visiting Gibraltar for the WASME conference to be held in April 2002.
The GFSB attendance at these European and world meetings is an important method of promoting Gibraltar and the appointment of Marie Lou as European policy co-ordinator was seen as a further enhancement of our strength and position with this influential group.