The Malta Independent 26 April 2019, Friday

Updated (2): Fuel stations - No agreement with minister, GRTU sets deadline for strike action

Wednesday, 16 January 2019, 16:55 Last update: about 4 months ago

No agreement was reached on Wednesday during a meeting between the GRTU and the Energy Ministry, meaning that a strike by fuel stations is still on the cards.

The meeting was held to discuss the possibility of the Government funding the required €21 million needed to re-fit the 90% of petrol stations in Malta and Gozo which do not fall within the requirements of an EU directive.

The GRTU - Malta Chamber of SMEs has warned it could resort to industrial action, saying that the government had not honoured its promises on agreements that were reached. In a statement, the GRTU said that it gave the government until the end of the week before calling a general meeting which could lead to strike action.

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In 2014, the GRTU presented the government with a detailed study on a restructuring programme that needed to be in place by 2020. To get in line with an EU directive, the study showed that all the equipment of 80 out of the 90 petrol stations in Malta and Gozo would need to be changed. This includes the petrol pumps, piping and the underground storage tanks.

The study noted that a total of €21 million was needed to complete all the necessary petrol pump upgrades needed to get in line with the EU directive.

It said several meetings have been held since then, including more recently with the minister responsible, Joe Mizzi, but no progress has been achieved.

On Wednesday, GRTU CEO Abigail Mamo said no agreement had been reached during the meeting with Energy Minister Joe Mizzi. Asked whether the possibility of industrial action still loomed, Mamo replied in the affirmative.

Asked what the next step was, the GRTU CEO said the issue was currently being discussed internally.

In a statement, the government said the Malta Resources Authority had, in 2011 allowed fuel station owners to set higher profit margins on condition that they would pay for the investment required to be carried out by 2020.

The government said it had noted the increases requested by the GRTU but did not accept in view of the fact that consumer prices increase according to the international fuel prices.

 

The government offered an increase that was higher than that decided in 2011 which does not put any added burden on families and businesses, the government said, adding that it was still open to discussion. 

 

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