Effects included disrupting electronic communications and service to the public, and obstructs democracy by cutting Parliament livestream during important debate of public interest.

At approximately 5:10pm on Monday 26th February, the Government's IT infrastructure began to suffer a total internet outage, affecting emails and internet access from Government desktops, as well as other services including the Parliament livestream.

It is not clear if this outage was sabotage and if it is, somehow, related to industrial action taken by the IT & LD Department with the support of the GGCA, which the Government says it considers to be completely unjustified and disproportionate.

The Government has rejected the claim put forward by the GGCA.

'This potentially deliberate and dangerous act of sabotage has affected every public service department, including the Royal Gibraltar Police, the Department for Social Security, Housing and the Care Agency. It has disrupted the communication of vulnerable citizens with essential services, and through cutting the Parliament livestream obstructed public access to the heart of our democracy. It has posed a serious risk to the security of Gibraltar’s national infrastructure and has put lives at risk.'

Public servants attempting to access the internet yesterday were met with a message directly referencing the industrial action and quoting the GGCA’s original press release with specific citation of salary disparity. The Government said it was shocked at the GGCA’s description of this message as ‘humorous’. It is unacceptable that this message appears on the PCs of over 3000 public servants when trying to use the internet for important work matters, so that IT & LD officers put pressure on their claim that would see basic salaries increase up to £12,000 per employee per annum.

The Government has said it maintains its position that the salaries and pay scales of the IT & LD are just and proportionate to roles and experience. IT & LD staff also benefit from automatic career progression as vacancies become available.

The pay scales within the IT & LD are as follows:

· IT & LD Technician: £22,661 - £34,700

· IT & LD Officer Level 1: £33,070 - £43,343

· IT & LD Officer Level 2: £41,302 – £52,913

· IT & LD Officer Level 3: £51,435 - £64,872

These basic salaries are bolstered by overtime payments, which as highlighted in the recently-published Principal Auditor’s report, substantially boost take-home pay.

'Further to the Principal Auditor's report, it is essential that all claims are considered carefully. The Government has a duty to safeguard both taxpayers’ money and public safety and will not be pre- emptively coerced into decisions by demands, threats and ultimatums. These issues can and should be resolved through sensible and realistic discussion, and not through irresponsible and intentional disruption to the essential work of all public servants.'

The Government discussed this with the GGCA to express its deep dissatisfaction and disappointment with this escalation, and to invite them to rectify the disruption and restore IT services immediately and not to cause any further deliberate industrial actions. At the time of going to press, internet use was not fully restored for the public service or for members of the public wanting to contact Government.

'The Government reserves the right to meet this unreasonable escalation which is interfering with its electronic communications systems with such measures as it may consider appropriate. Furthermore, the Government will take any necessary disciplinary action against anyone found to have been responsible for this deliberate sabotage of Gibraltar’s critical infrastructure.'

'The Government apologises to the public for the disruption to public services and will take every reasonable measure to ensure stability of service to the public.'

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