Thursday, 19 July 2012

Just a fistful of pounds after years of work

Monument to Spanish workers
La Línea
GIBRALTAR/LA LÍNEA Hundreds of Spaniards who have retired from working in Gibraltar are now having a very hard time of it thanks to the laws on the Rock, according to an article in Europa Sur. Their pensions are worth almost nothing, yet it is the same as that received by pensioners in Gibraltar, with one major difference: on the Rock, apparently, they get tax benefits and extras that allow them to live 'a dignified retirement'. But those who live in Spain are not entitled to that. On the Rock there is a Government fund called Community Care, says the article, access to which the two organizations that cover the Spanish pensioners, CITYPEG and ASCTEG, have been asking for years. It is a matter of equality that, say these organizations, 'only works one way'. The Spaniards have paid the same taxes and Social Security payments as their Gibraltarian counterparts, but do not get the same benefits.
For decades now, people on the Spanish side of the border, particularly from La Línea, have had to seek employment on the colony (a word used by all Spanish media, but more PC is British Overseas Territory) mainly in the service and catering industries, and also in construction. Pensions after working for private companies are considerably lower than those from Government, but all are much lower for those not living on the Rock.>>>
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A Spanish worker who has spent his life employed in Gibraltar, gets about €320 per month, a figure that would be almost double if he or she lived on the Rock because they would be entitled to Community Care. This, according to ASCTEG, compares with the close to €900 received by someone who has worked in Spain.

Even worse is the position of those who ended their working days working in Gibraltar because the rules apply as from the last place of employment.

As reported by Europa Sur, Francisco is from La Línea; he is 65 and retired in December. His pension is €320, having worked in Britain and Gibraltar. His wife gets little more than €200, though what she paid in for her work in Spain, they total a little more than €900 between them.

"I paid in for 23 years in Spain," says Francisco, "seven as an employee and 16 as self-employed. I also worked in England, where I had a business that I sold on when I had only 12 years left until retirement. I then came to Gibraltar to work because I spoke English. I got a temporary job as a security guard that turned into twelve years' work. I have paid in for over 40 years, and my pension is ridiculous. Had I known about this, I wouldn't have sold the business and certainly wouldn't have come to work in Gibraltar."

Both the organizations mentioned above have been asking not only the Gibraltar Government, but also the Spanish, to do something about this kind of situation.

They, being Spanish, have asked the central government to intercede on behalf of hundreds of people who are living in misery. They have also asked Gibraltar for access to the Community Care programme. "It's the Gibraltar Government who should put up most of any costs, as the pensioners always had their taxes and Social Security paid up," says Juan José Uceda, spokesman for ASCTEG.

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