Leading Gibraltar and Spain’s Campo unions - Unite the Union, Comissiones Obreras (CCOO), and Union General de Trabajadores (UGT) - have jointly released a statement and manifesto urging good neighbourly relations. The states that any diplomatic scuffle and/or show of strength by one or all of parties involved has immediate and negative consequences for the people who live on either side of the border.
“People’s interests should be above state policies or other interests which are not always made clear. Gibraltarians and ‘Campo-Gibraltarians’ are the ones who pay the cost of these interests,” said the statement.
All three groups will present the following manifesto to their respective societies and political representatives:
We call upon our governments to make use of political dialogue and reason; thus banishing provocations and confrontation from the relationship between states which call themselves friends, partners and allies.
We reaffirm the desire for cooperation of the working class and that of its representative organizations: we wish to be allowed to live as neighbours and achieve the socio-economic development of an area in which cooperation plays a key role in the development of its potential growth and the creation of wealth and employment.
We maintain our rejection of confrontational policies, wherever they come from, for they are failed and historically redundant measures.
We call for an agreement which combines the sustainability of the marine biodiversity in the waters surrounding the Rock with the traditional fishing in the area. This is a good time to remember one of the major industrial struggles of our times, the fishing dispute of the late 80’s, which could not have been maintained without the help of Gibraltarians Trade Unions, which provisioned the ships involved in a dispute in Algeciras from Gibraltar so that they could maintain their struggle for better working conditions. This was crucial aid provided by neighbours who never asked for anything in return, and for which the Spanish trade unions of the area are eternally grateful.
We affirm that the Gibraltarian and Campo-Gibraltarians societies cannot afford to pay for policies dictated without the interests of the people in mind but in the name of State Policies which we do not share, accept and are not willing to suffer for again.
We call upon citizens on both sides of the border not to fall for traps and provocations and maintain relations fitting of two mature and democratic societies of the XXI century. The working class of any country is beyond patriotic proclamations, what it needs is honest governments that manage general interests with talent and care and who always work towards agreements that are beneficial for the prosperity of their people.
Any other resolution, particularly in times of great difficulty for society, will have electoral consequences for its instigators.
According to the joint statement there are 12,000 people who come into work in Gibraltar daily, 10,000 of these are Spanish and 2,000 are other frontier workers. No figure is given for non-European workers.
In addition to foreign nationals coming in daily, the statement said that “a significant number of Gibraltarians who reside in Spain or frequently visit Spain enter daily”.
The statement said that this “is to be expected of neighbouring towns and people who share a common history: that of a prosperous region which benefited from Gibraltar’s strength and that of a slammed fence that mutilated a regional economy and sowed the seed of ignorance, mistrust and resentment”.