Thousand defence jobs on Rock at risk: Caruana

25th February 2005, Comments 0 comments

25 February 2005, GIBRALTAR-The Gibraltar government warned Spaniards might take over British defence jobs in Gibraltar as a result of privatisation plans by the military.

25 February 2005

GIBRALTAR-The Gibraltar government warned Spaniards might take over British defence jobs in Gibraltar as a result of privatisation plans by the military.

Gibraltar chief minister Peter Caruana said in a written statement that all 1,000 jobs would be at risk.

He added that in a frontier economy like Gibraltar's, contractors would seek to maximise their profits by engaging the cheapest and most 'hireable and fireable' labour.

"This will inevitably be found in Spain," he added. "There is therefore a grave risk that jobs in the military base presently held by locals will be lost and replaced by jobs for non-residents.

"This would be richly ironical given our support for the military base and Spain's opposition to its very existence."

In a briefing paper sent to Caruana, the British defence ministry said it was "fully aware of the implications these measures will have for the Gibraltar economy and the effect they will have on future employment especially for the blue collar constituency.

"Scope for re-employment will be limited and it is likely on cost grounds that some of the new employees to be recruited by the contractor in due course would be from across the border in Spain," it acknowledged.

Caruana has aligned itself with the unions to oppose the military plan, saying that it is "severely damaging to Gibraltar, economically and socially."

The Gibraltar government says it will try to impede the implementation of the military plan, while the unions are promising industrial unrest.

Caruana said the Gibraltar government "will take all steps that it lawfully and reasonably can to impede and counteract this plan which is economically and socially regressive for Gibraltar as a whole."

The defence ministry's annual budget in Gibraltar is just over EUR 87 million.

This pays for functions ranging from the berthing of nuclear submarines to electronic surveillance.

According to British military commander Allan Adair, the ministry values "the support that Gibraltar and its people have traditionally extended to the British military."

But he said the ministry's "strong commitment to retaining its present level of military output in Gibraltar" was balanced by "the absolute requirement to ensure that these operations are cost effective."

[Copyright EFE with Expatica]

Subject: Spanish news

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