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Gibraltar (Civil Personnel)

Volume 931: debated on Tuesday 10 May 1977

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asked the Secretary of State for Defence what has been years; and what the corresponding figures were for each of the other member countries of the EEC.

The following is the value information. Consistent data on which to estimate proportions by volume are not available.the cost of sending senior civil servants from the United Kingdom to Gibraltar to undertake the work of members of the Civil and Public Services Association who are engaged in an industrial dispute; and if he will make a statement.

Nil. The staff involved in the dispute are clerical and allied grades. No United Kingdom based staff in these or any other grades have been sent to Gibraltar to undertake their work.

asked the Secretary of State for Defence whether members of the Civil and Public Services Association engaged in a dispute over salary levels in Gibraltar have been informed that they must sign a declaration that they will never again take industrial action, before negotiations to settle the present dispute can take place.

No. The facts are that in October 1976, after the staff involved had been taking industrial action for some six weeks, they were warned that, unless they returned to normal working, they would be suspended from duty. Those attempting to enter Ministry of Defence premises after this warning had been given were asked to give a written undertaking that it was their intention to work normally. Since then, in the course of negotiations with the CPSA, this requirement has been waived and all staff are free and welcome to return at any time, on the basis that their return will be accepted as indicative of their intention to work normally.

asked the Secretary of State for Defence what is the percentage difference in the salary levels of those members of the Civil and Public Services Association employed in Gibraltar and those employed in similar capacities in the United Kingdom.

The Scamp Report, which recommended that the pay of local staff in Gibraltar should be related to that of corresponding grades in the United Kingdom, envisaged that ultimately Gibraltar rates should be 80 per cent. of United Kingdom rates, and that progress towards this objective should be accomplished in four pay reviews: 1974–70 per cent.; 1975–72 per cent.; 1976–76 per cent.; 1977–80 per cent.These recommendations were accepted on 13th April 1976 by the CPSA with respect to the 1974 and 1975 reviews which were implemented simultaneously. As a result, from 1st October 1975, Gibraltar rates have been set at 72 per cent. of United Kingdom rates. As, however, all locally entered clerical staff were already in receipt of a higher percentage, depending upon their length of service, they received between 75 per cent. and 90 per cent. of the United Kingdom rates.The 1976 review has yet to be carried out and will be retrospective to 1st October 1976 from which date the Scamp recommendation is that Gibraltar rates should be 76 per cent. of the United Kingdom rates obtaining at that date.

asked the Secretary of State for Defence if any members of the Civil and Public Services Association engaged in picket activity relating to the dispute on pay and conditions in Gibraltar have been arrested; and if he will make a statement.

I understand that, in the course of demonstrations in Gibraltar, members of the CPSA were arrested by the civil police for causing obstruction and for other offences.

asked the Secretary of State for Defence how long the lock-out of members of the Civil and Public Services Association in Gibraltar has been in force; and what proposals have been made to resolve the dispute.

The staff have not been locked out. On 25th October 1976, in accordance with procedures recognised by the CPSA and all other trades unions in Gibraltar, and following some six weeks of increasingly disruptive industrial action, those involved were suspended from duty so long as they refused to work normally. They are free and welcome to return to normal working at any time.Public service pay in Gibraltar is in the process of conversion in line with the principles recommended by Sir Jack Scamp in his 1975 report on pay and conditions in Gibraltar. These principles changed the basis of pay determination of local staff in Gibraltar to one under which pay is calculated by reference to the pay of analogous grades in the public service in the United Kingdom. Adoption of these principles has upset historical relativities between, on the one hand, clerks employed by the United Kingdom Departments in Gibraltar, and on the other, clerks employed by the Gibraltar Government.CPSA officials have attended eight meetings at the Ministry of Defence in an effort to resolve their grievance. In the course of these meetings the Ministry of Defence offered to try to arrange, in conjunction with the Gibraltar Government, a joint staff inspection of the relevant posts in both employments to establish the correctness of the United Kingdom analogues used. At the last of these meetings the CPSA representatives were offered a lump sum payment to the United Kingdom Department's clerical grades and were given a formal undertaking that their rates of pay would be reviewed in the light of the findings of a formal staff inspection. Both these offers were rejected.Since then the CPSA has been offered a three-man board of inquiry to be set up under an independent chairman. The board would be charged with examining the causes and circumstances of the dispute and with making recommendations. Although this proposal was accepted at the time by the national executive committee of the CPSA, it was rejected by the CPSA membership in Gibraltar.

The Ministry of Defence remains ready to consider any new initiative which may emerge.