The Gibraltar commute: A step in the right direction
The recent issues taking place between the border of Gibraltar and Spain have been widely reported on for a while now. However, strange as it may seem, life for the daily commuters here has scarcely been affected. In a wider, more political contest there are many things that the UK, Gibraltar and Spanish Government need to reform, but from a worker’s angle the queues are something that have been commonplace for some time now.
Lately the issue has become more acute and queues have escalated on occasion to six hours in 30 degree heat. As a result of this unbearable heat, some people have even been lead to seek medical attention during their experience. Queues of up to an hour have been the norm for the last few years, however this has been due mainly to traffic density rather than the recent car checking procedures put in place by the Spanish authorities.
Most people we deal with in the Pentasia Gibraltar office are relocating, with many choosing to live over the border in Spain for location and property reasons. The border is therefore of huge importance when it comes to the 10,000 or more workers who cross it every day. Speaking as one of these members myself, I have been amazed by the calm and collected nature of these workers (be they Spanish, British or Gibraltarian) and the way they have managed to stay positive in such difficult times. Another option for workers to consider is walking across the border, an experience which has not been hindered by the current chaos and delays the area has been suffering.
Something I must stress is that there is no reason to worry about being trapped in Gibraltar. Closing the border is in fact against all the principals of the EU. Rumours abound that the Spanish government is set to charge a 30 Euro fee to enter Gibraltar, however this would also be illegal under European law. It is of course worth remembering that these fears have possibly been influenced by the thoughts of the Spanish Minister and not the friendly people of Spain.
The good news is that the queues have eased off in the last week. We are of course waiting however to see if the three governments are now able to come together and work out a feasible solution for everyone concerned. In the meantime, if you’re planning to travel into Gibraltar, it would be a good idea to make sure your car’s air conditioning works!
Gavin Lewis, Recruitment Consultant at Pentasia Gibraltar