I was going to write on the issues arising following the recent visit of the Minister for Europe but I have had too many requests to start a debate on the Civil Service "package". I will write a short piece to start the debate but will do so seeking answers by stating opinion in an inquisitive spirit.
It seemed to me that the package as a whole is reasonable but there are obviously Union members who have issues and questions on which the Union owes them explanations and answers. That said, there has to be give and take in today's world and reasonable discussion and solutions within the Union and with Government as employer.
Modernising services and terms of service is essential. Public servants need to be well rewarded but today's economic circumstances in the world require that long term commitments are kept under control. The alternative is to bequeath to our children an unaffordable burden.
What I would question is the right of the Union of today to trade off benefits gained for their present members for sacrifice by future workers, which some feel is what may be happening. There is no simple solution to this conundrum. I believe that an element of altruism has to be brought into play so that present employees sacrifice something for the greater good of Gibraltar as a whole.
This brings me to the second issue consultation, openness and transparency. Employees cannot be asked to make sacrifice without full information and consultation by the Union that represents them. The message that seems to be filtering out is that there has not been enough consultation or time for members of the Union to study and consider the package. If that is the case bulldozing even a good package is anti-democratic. It is sad because if in substance the package is good but it is defeated for procedural failings by the Union then the net loser is Gibraltar and the Union, which represents its members.
A reminder of what is happening in government generally?