The Malta Independent 28 October 2016, Friday

Government proposals on industrial tribunal are weak, only provide temporary solution - CMTU

Gabriel Schembri Monday, 22 February 2016, 12:21 Last update: about 8 months ago

The Confederation of Maltese Trade Unions and UHM Voice of the Workers have declared that the government proposals regarding the Industrial Tribunal are too weak.

In a press conference held at the UHM headquarters in Floriana earlier today, the two entities insist that the list of proposals presented by the government are a 'half-way, temporary solution'.

They also insist that the industrial tribunal should be headed by a magistrate.

The series of reactions comes after a landmark judgement by the Constitutional Court which ruled that the law establishing the Industrial Tribunal was unconstitutional and it did not guarantee independence and impartiality.

Medical Association of Malta President, Dr Martin Balzan, who is also CMTU president, said that the all CMTU members must take a common position regarding the latest proposals, and they should be presented to the public as clearly as possible.

He explained that the law establishing the tribunal came about 40 years ago and was cosmetically changed 20 years back.

Dr Balzan said that trade unions should first of all, safeguard the provision of justice to all workers. He called on the government so that the Industrial Tribunal has an element of legal expertise.

"We believe the government proposals are weak, as they do not go far enough to protect the rights of the workers. We want a solid law which serves for many years to come. This is how we can restore faith in the Industrial Tribunal."

Josef Vella, from UHM voice of the workers claimed that the government is trying to put the blame for this problem on previous administrations.

Mr Vella explained that the tribunal should be steered by a magistrate with legal expertise rather than appointing chairpersons on the basis of their industrial expertise.

"We are in the middle of this legislature, so government must stop blaming previous leaders and address the issue now. Both governments have stared at this problem without doing anything."

A major proposal presented by the CMTU and UHM is that of having Industrial Tribunal members elected by three fourths vote from the Employment Relations Board (ERB).

The cases are being temporarily deferred until this issue comes to a close. However, cases of unfair dismissal are still being filed as the law stipulates that such cases are filed within a limited timeframe.  

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