The Gibraltar Chamber of Commerce has, in consultation with employment law experts recently completed a detailed and extensive review of current Gibraltar employment legislation.
Many parts of the local employment legislation are outdated and modern business practices have changed considerably since some of the original legislation was introduced many years ago, and in some cases, several decades ago.
When changes have been made to local legislation, the Chamber notes that the benefits for employees of UK legislation have been adopted eagerly, but all too often the responsibilities that go with them have become separated on the vague pretext that “Gibraltar is different”. If the UK is to continue to be a guide for Gibraltar legislation, then the relationship of adopting UK rewards and practices needs some rebalancing. It is inequitable for the employer to be forced to adopt all the costs and expenses of UK-style practices for the benefit of employees, but there is no corresponding commitment that the employees contribute or improve their own productivity.
The result of this review is contained in Governments’ recently published Agenda for Change in Employment Legislation. The Agenda for Change seeks to bring important areas of employment law up to date and give certainty to employers in all sectors in Gibraltar.
This Chamber’s Agenda is based on 5 guiding principles:
• Create certainty for employers and employees and avoid ambiguities in employment legislation • Improve minimum standards in employment practice • Give flexibility to the employer as well as to their employees • Enhance Gibraltar’s competitiveness as a place to start and operate a business • Foster mutual respect for the employee and also for the employer
The aim overall is to work together to create a better Gibraltar for employers and employees alike.
The areas of employment law, which the Agenda deals with, include sick pay, redundancy pay, retirement, insolvency and the Industrial Tribunal.
The recommendations made by the Chamber have been sent to the government. Publication of the Agenda coincides with the government’s commitment for wholesale legislative reform of the Industrial Tribunal something, which both the Chamber and the government agree is long overdue. The Chamber is seeking legislative changes in relation to all of the recommendations in the Agenda as soon as possible during the remainder of this term and, failing implementation of all during this term, as manifesto commitments from both the Government and Opposition. We firmly believe that implementation of the Agenda would send a strong message to the private sector “that the right business environment is there in Gibraltar for businesses to prosper”.
“The Chamber will continue to lobby on behalf of its members to ensure that their interests are upheld at all times. The board has asked the government to meet so that they can discuss the issues raised by this important Chamber initiative.”.