The Malta Independent 1 November 2014, Saturday

Enemalta workers requested to attend 'personalised' interviews for ‘way forward’

Malta Independent Friday, 18 July 2014, 10:00 Last update: about 3 months ago

Enemalta employees are being asked by management to attend a ‘personalised’ interview to seek a way forward on their future but employees are against this request, sources told this newspaper.

Changes at the corporation have been confirmed by the Energy Minister after he explained that the workers would be grouped in a new government-owned company, Engineering Resources Ltd, while retaining their jobs, conditions and seniority in terms of the current collective agreement. They would be assigned work by Enemalta as needed. Jobs would be retained and no one would be required to work abroad against his will, the minister said.

Parliament started to debate the bill on Wednesday after the PN protested (a day before) that the bill should not be discussed mainly because the new conditions would affect the corporation’s workers and because the government us refusing to publish the deal reached between the government and China’s state owned Shanghai Electric Power.

Workers who spoke to this newsroom insisted that their conditions will be affected negatively if transferred to other governmental jobs. They claim that some of the workers enjoy conditions which tally with high ranking civil service employees but they don’t see themselves being transferred from Enemalta’s workshops to top positions within the civil service to be able to match their current pay scale. This seems to be one of the headaches concerning both the GWU and UHM who represent different governmental sections.

Earlier this week, Labour Party deputy leader for party affairs Toni Abela was quoted on One radio saying that the conditions of the corporation’s workers will not be affected as a result of the ongoing changes. This assurance was also given by Energy Minister Konrad Mizzi many a time ever since the corporation started to face drastic changes, including when the corporation was partly privatised.

This newspaper recently reported that the Enemalta petroleum division is likely to be privatised. A few months ago, it also reported that certain employees were being told that they could face working overseas or their working conditions may be altered.

This newsroom also contacted GWU secretary general Tony Zarb to reveal the union’s position on the privatisation of Enemalta but declined to answer and instead referred the workers who approached this newsroom to go speak to him when confronted with the question that a number of workers informed this newsroom that he is against the privatisation of Enemalta. The workers who spoke to this newspaper said Mr Zarb implied so during a meeting held for workers in September.

George Pullicino, opposition spokesman on energy, said that the bill to transform Enemalta Corporation into Enemalta plc where the corporation’s assets, obligations and liabilities will be transferred to the new company, is aimed at facilitating the partial privatisation of Enemalta. He expressed regret over the fact that the government did not present the documents needed for a proper debate to take place, including the deal with Shanghai Electric, which would be buying a good portion of  Enemalta’s stakes, along with the Electrogas contract signed in September for the building and operation of a new power station.

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