The ability of our workforce determines how prosperous we are as a nation. Yet successive administrations have failed our workers in offering the protections that they require, and a fair distribution of pensions. Together Gibraltar looks to remove the gender disparity in pay and pensions. The technology trade is the future of Gibraltar’s economy and we will focus on developing a workforce equipped with the skills that tomorrow's jobs will require. A Together Gibraltar government will aim to put an end to in-work poverty and underemployment and ensure everyone has a right to dignity at every stage of their careers.
Talent Has No Gender
According to the Employment Survey Report 2018, women are on average paid approximately 19.4% less for full-time jobs than their male counterparts; this is 2.4% higher than the average gender pay gap across the OECD (17%). This means that in Gibraltar, for every £1 a man makes, a woman earns 81.6p. This results in an approximate lifetime earnings shortfall of over £300k – a wide discrepancy that translates into a significant lifetime penalty on women that continues to widen as women get older. Fewer women than men make it to senior roles in Gibraltar (2,821 men, 1,226 women), and those who do are paid less on average per month (£4,018) than their male counterparts (£5,558). We will:
Aim to implement an ‘Equal Pay Standard’ to encourage action, analysing jobs according to a comprehensive set of criteria in relation to the requirements of the role. Each job is assigned a ranking which determines the level of pay to be applied to it, ensuring a salary review system that is appropriate and fair.
Require companies employing over 25 workers to publish gender pay gap data and ensure that they provide detailed information to the ETB. Labour inspectors, together with the Equality and Human Rights Commission, will review this information and impose penalties on companies that do not comply with their standards.
Equalise statutory maternity/paternity leave in order to address the expectation that women will assume the majority of childcare and domestic responsibilities at the expense of their careers.
Under 25s – The Promise for our Future and our Youth
Gibraltar enjoys a healthy rate of academic achievement, with many successful students furthering education to degree level and beyond. However, there are young people who are not necessarily academic achievers, and this does not make them less worthy of government assistance when embarking on their careers, more training and employment options need to be available to them. We will:
Evaluate and forecast business needs and develop tomorrow's workforce by conducting an in-depth labour market research, in conjunction with employers, civil society organisations and the Ministry for Education.
Promote youth employment by introducing a Corporate Social Responsibility certificate of excellence scheme for companies who invest in our youth, encouraging strategic partnerships with private firms to take on trainees and provide job shadowing opportunities which will be closely monitored in order to prevent abuse and ensure long lasting positive effects.
Improve the quality and relevance of vocational routes and qualifications, focusing on employability and on the job training for young people.
Provide apprenticeships in construction, hospitality, care, utilities and electrical services in partnership, where possible, with the University of Gibraltar.
Invest in the development and advancement of technological skills, the future of our economy, with apprenticeships and secure on the job training in conjunction with our EIS.
Kickstart a generation of entrepreneurs by developing training programs in essential soft and hard skills.
Furthermore, we will ensure to encourage home grown talent particularly in the financial services sector, directing locals to take on vocational routes of accounting, fund investment and compliance from an earlier age than presently, on the job training, so we can build more home-grown financial management talent and experience, and strengthen the sustainability of our financial services industry, one that does not have to rely on talent being brought in, such as the audit and accountancy, investment funds and insurance industries.
Civil Service Workforce review and plan for Job Progression
With consultation and collaboration from key stakeholders we will conduct a review with a view to reinforcing the workforce and enhancing efficiency within the Civil Service. We will:
Clearly define roles and responsibilities to ensure proper segregation of duties, setting authority levels to provide proper role accountability.
Conduct annual performance appraisals to help create a culture that allows promotions based on merit, incentivising staff to aspire to progression within the workplace.
Encourage relevant continuous professional development and training and set attainable targets for work objectives.
Final Salary Pensions ended in January 2012, and a contributory salary pension scheme was introduced in its place. This has created a disparity, with individuals expecting to receive lower pensions than employees in the Final Salary Pension scheme, even though they contribute as much as 8% of their gross salary income into the pot. Bearing in mind divorced women contributed to their household financially, divorced women who have paid the ‘married womens’ contributions of social insurance and pensions during their marriage are presently only entitled to a pension at the dependent rate of 50% for that time whilst married, whilst their ex-spouses receive their pensions at the full rate. Entitlement to a pension ends on the day of the pension claimant’s death. It is not transferred to the surviving spouse or civil partner – a leading cause of poverty in the elderly. Private Sector pensioners often live below the poverty line. We will:
First and foremost, we will engage with experts in the actuarial profession to ascertain the true best estimate of pension costs to the economy, rather than using prior year costs to model economic requirements. A qualified opinion on the true cost of pensions to our economy will enable us to truly maximise the packages we can offer and allow us to evaluate the pensionable age. We will ensure that men and women’s pensionable age is equalised.
Review the pension schemes in place to ensure that pensions within the public sector are maximised.
Calculate divorced women's pensions at the full rate for the duration of the marriage.
Ensure that at death, pension entitlement can be transferred to those whose spouse or civil partner has not been working and does not receive a pension in their own right.
In relation to Private Sector workers, we appreciate the vast discrepancies between the private and public sectors. Following discussions with trade union representatives, it has come to our attention that the published bill for the Act which ensures private sector workers are entitled to have a choice to pay into an occupational pension scheme, has not gained enough response from private sector companies. Furthermore, we note that due to the criteria being imposed by the proposed Private Pensions Act, such as the £10k minimum threshold, a significant number of part-time workers do not qualify for these schemes. Therefore, the bill does not ensure every member of the community is protected financially in their later years. It does not ensure that everyone has access to a pension plan.
Together Gibraltar will engage in close and robust consultation with the relevant interest groups such as the Private Sector Worker Pensions Association, unions and employer organisations to ensure a fairer compromise with regards to pension provisions can be met. We appreciate there continues to be significant gaps between the original command paper and the Private Sector Pension Bill, we will endeavour to review these, and we will strongly encourage the collaboration of the private sector. Together Gibraltar believes that everyone should have a right to access to a dignified and liveable pension plan.
Zero Hour / Supply Contracts (gig Economy)
Zero hours contracts can be useful or necessary when work demands are irregular or where there is fluctuating demand for staff. However, these are all too often used as a permanent arrangement, leading to workers not taking home a living wage and being subject to sub-standard terms and conditions of employment. Those on zero-hour contracts are often agency workers, whose services are contracted by the Government. This introduces an element of unfairness and a waste of public funds, as agencies are often paid a rate per worker that significantly exceeds the salary paid. We will:
Identify a means to allow the flexibility and freedom to employers that the gig economy provides, while providing statutory protection and benefits to individuals that are on zero-hour contracts.
Publish statistics covering employees on zero-hour contracts alongside unemployment rates in order to provide a clearer and honest overview of employment figures.
Enable labour inspectors to supervise employers using these contracts to ensure that they are not being used in an exploitative manner.
Stamp out abuse of zero-hour contracts by creating the right to request a fixed contract and to make regular patterns of work contractual after a period of time.
Flexible working time arrangements
Flexible working creates a better work life balance and incentivises employees to be more productive, encouraging retention of higher calibre employees. Employers should therefore be encouraged to consider providing flexible working time arrangements wherever is reasonable and practical to do so. We will:
Provide easy to read guidelines to assist employers and workers in establishing these arrangements.
Consult with the GFSB and WIB on creating incentives for small businesses with tax breaks or subsidies.
Statutory Sick Leave
Current statutory sick leave provides for 10 days at full pay and 20 days at half pay. This creates real hardship for those suffering from a long-term illness. We will therefore review statutory sick leave in relation to certain long-term illnesses, such as cancer, in order to mitigate the suffering of patients and their families.
Ministry of Defence
The Ministry of Defence (MOD) has been instrumental in our history in protecting our territory and values, they have supported us and safeguarded our prosperity. This is why Together Gibraltar values the MOD and its workforce.
Together Gibraltar recognises there continues to be approximately 700 employees that make up the MOD workforce – inclusive of its main contractor ‘Interserve’. With the Global Agreement coming to an end in 2017 and their job security and livelihoods compromised, Together Gibraltar will ensure to respect the spirit of the agreement, and in line with previous government commitments, we will commit to offering secure employment within our public sector to those individuals facing compulsory redundancies. Together Gibraltar wishes to reiterate that the MOD and its Union representatives will have our full support.