The Malta Independent 13 November 2018, Tuesday

Watch: PM Joseph Muscat does not exclude issuing white or green paper on union proposal in future

Kevin Schembri Orland Friday, 9 November 2018, 11:47 Last update: about 2 days ago

Prime Minister Joseph Muscat has said that government does not exclude issuing a white or green paper to launch a formal discussion on proposals relating to mandatory union membership.

The Malta Independent asked the Prime Minister about his call for a debate on the idea of making it mandatory for workers to join a union of their choice, highlighting that such a move would go against fundamental human rights and against international conventions which were ratified by Malta.

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Muscat said that government needs to ensure that anything done does not go against Freedom of Association, adding that he said this before.

He said that government already has an analysis with regard to how a scheme like this can be challenged or not, as well as ideas such as a person having the ability to choose not to join a union but there would be contributions to a national fund that promotes workers rights.

“What I asked for was the beginning of  a national discussion, which has started.”

He said government does not exclude issuing a formal discussion in the form of a white paper or green paper in the coming months, but would be two-fold. He said that not only regarding this situation, but also where employers would be made to register with a Chamber of Commerce. This exists in EU countries, he said.

The Prime Minister said, with regards to the mandatory union membership discussion, that government knows of jurisprudence from the EU Court. He said the system does exist in countries outside of the EU like Australia.

He also made reference to a news article which appeared on The Times of Malta today. The Times of Malta reported that : “Plans to build a new state-of-the-art Gozo General Hospital have been put on hold despite contractual obligations it had to be up and running by last May.”

The Prime Minister however, had this to say on the issue: As Deputy Prime Minister Chris Fearne can confirm, this is completely not true. He said he visited Stewards in Boston a few weeks ago and that there is complete commitment on their part at the highest levels. “The amount of funds they are investing in Malta is considerable. There was complete commitment this morning, they confirmed.”

“There is nothing true in the speculative report.”

Fearne said that the investment by Stewards is showing. He said that the €2.2 million was invested in the anatomy school, and a €22 million investment in Barts Medical School which has now reached the third floor.

Photo Alenka Falzon

 

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