International workers day commemorates those who have fought and died and
continue to fight and die for workers justice.
In Gibraltar in recent times we have seen outsourcing of contracts via recruitment
companies that have sometimes lacked total transparency. We have seen the teaching
profession not given the respect that they deserve. We have seen confusion and
uncertainty over the futures of workers who keep our streets clean. And, in a situation
that has been unfolding in the past week, we have seen those who keep our health
service ticking being taken for granted.
Today of all days we should recognise – from employees to employers, from the
unemployed to students, from the retired to the zero hour contract worker – that when
we are a society it means that we take our values of solidarity, justice, and equality as
verbs, not just soundbytes for once every 4 years.
We must support workers in our universal public health service of which and of whom
we are so grateful to. We must support workers across the public and private sectors
so that they are employed with dignity and not expediency. We must support our
young workforce and workforce-to-be so that they do not get left behind in this
Fundamentally, we must have a conversation together about where we are going as a
Gibraltar, and how best we can ensure that workers are central to our destination. It is
the role of government to represent our community. But it is the role of the community
to demand political action, decisive change, and a long-term vision.