The Chief Minister of Gibraltar, the Hon Fabian Picardo QC MP, met today with representatives of the NASUWT, Unite and the GGCA at No6 Convent Place.
At the meeting with the NASUWT, the Minister for Education was also present, as well as the Director of Education, the Director of Public Health, the acting Medical Director and the Civil Contingencies Coordinator. The Chief Minister shared the medical advice the Government has received from the Public Health professionals and the logic behind the decisions being made by the Government to keep schools open, as well as the concerns of the Department for vulnerable children in the general school population and the concern for teachers who have underlying conditions themselves. This was very much also the concern brought to the attention of the Government by the NASUWT representatives. A number of ideas were shared as to how to improve the work being done on the schools issue and the Chief Minister committed to continue to consult with NASUWT colleagues on a regular, 48 hourly basis, as the situation develops.
The advice in respect of schools received by the Director of Public Health was also shared by the Chief Minister with the Leader of the Opposition, Dr Keith Azopardi QC MP and with Ms Marlene Hassan Nahon MP, with whom the Chief Minister has also spoken today to brief them on aspects of the developing situation.
The meeting with the GGCA was also positive and productive, as was the meeting with Unite the Union. In both cases the Chief Minister expressed the importance of the public sector workers in keeping functioning, deliverable public services in Gibraltar, in particular on the front line of health care. It was agreed to continue to meet regularly also and to work offline on how best to introduce interim working mechanisms in case separate teams are needed in departments or if remote working may be required.
The Chief Minister, the Hon Fabian Picardo QC MP, said: “I want to thank the members of the respective unions who met me today. All have been highly responsible in the attitudes they have taken to the decisions we have to make. We have agreed to continue meeting, talking and working together. We will need to ensure that decisions we make which are right when we make them are kept under constant review and that we are working with the unions on decisions going forward. I have also briefed the Leader of the Opposition and Ms Hassan Nahon this evening on the events that have transpired. I will also continue in contact with them in coming days as we need to take other decisions to slow the inevitable spread of the virus in our community. Further meetings will be held tomorrow and in coming days at No6 on this subject.”