The Malta Independent 17 June 2019, Monday

Indepth: Musical chairs to blame for fuel station talks - GRTU CEO

INDEPTH online Saturday, 26 January 2019, 09:49 Last update: about 6 months ago

Changes in personnel negotiating with the GRTU resulted in discussions on the ongoing fuel stations issue having to start "from scratch," says its CEO Abigail Mamo on this week's episode of Indepth, which tackles the fuel station strike.

Speaking to The Malta Independent's editor-in-chief Rachel Attard, Mamo explained that one of the statements made by Energy Minister Joe Mizzi had given them the impression that progress had been registered. The GRTU, she said, could not understand how discussions had to start again.

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Fuel stations went on strike on Tuesday, with fuel pumps switched off after hours and fuel station owners saying they would not be paying their license fees to the Regulator for Energy and Water Services (REWS).

The decision was taken during a meeting that started at 7pm on Monday after talks with the energy ministry stalled last week.

The government said it had offered an increase higher than that decided on in 2011, putting no additional burden on families and businesses. It added that it was still open to discussions.

Mamo insisted that the issue could be solved through the allowance of increased profit margins, explaining that the margin having remained the same for nine consecutive years was not normal.

"If you are a business that knows you are going to need to do this kind of work, then you change the margin of profits."

€21 million is needed to complete all the necessary petrol pump upgrades required to bring fuel stations in line with EU directives.

She noted that some owners had to pay as much as €700,000 to fully upgrade their stations, depending on their size.

Queried on whether the 2020 deadline for improvements to fuel stations should be postponed, Mamo noted that the regulator had already sent letters stating that upgrades would need to be carried out by January 2020.

 


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