The Professionals, Finance and Services Section of the General Workers' Union (GWU) registered another trade dispute with the British High Commission in Malta after the Commissioned engaged part-time workers in lieu of full-time employees who were made redundant. This act by the British High Commission goes against the Employment & Industrial Relations Act that clearly stipulates that redundant workers are to be called back into employment if new posts are available. The High Commission did not call back any of these employees.
During the last few weeks the GWU was involved in several trade disputes with the British High Commission most of which were submitted to the Industrial Tribunal. Moreover, there were other cases against the High Commission presented by various individual employees either on their own behalf or assisted by the Union concerning their termination of employment. In three of the cases, the Industrial Tribunal decided against the British High Commission, of which one case was confirmed by the Court of Appeals. In another case that was still pending, the Commission opted to pay all dues as demanded.
The GWU declares that under the tenure of Her Excellency Louise Stanton as British High Commissioner and her advisers, the relations between the GWU and British High Commission were shelved particularly when she decided on matters concerning her employees behind the GWU’s back.
In view of the fact that the British High Commission employed new workers and did not call back to employment redundant workers, the Professionals, Finance & Services Section will be submitting the case before the Industrial Tribunal.
With reference to the comments by the Rt Honorary David Lidington Minister of State in the Foreign and Commonwealth Office to various sections of the press, the General Workers’ Union would like to clarify that the downsizing in Malta was done in a selective manner and not in accordance with Maltese law. For example the last in first out rule was contravened amongst others. GWU said that this is tantamount to selective redundancies not in accordance with the law.
The High Commission was then prompt to offer two years salary to those identified for redundancy, at the tax payers expense, to avoid any litigation on breach of law. Nevertheless such selective redundancies were in the opinion of the Union also aimed at prejudicing the Union’s position in representing High Commission employees. The anti-union behaviour coordinated by High Commissioner Stanton and supported by her advisers, can be confirmed if a proper investigation takes place. Such investigation could hear the GWU’s voice as well as the voice of those who were sidelined by the administration. Therefore the Union reinforces its appeal to the Honorary Minister responsible for the Malta High Commission to consider an investigation into the claims of the Union.