The Malta Independent 9 December 2019, Monday

Agreement signed with General Workers’ Union in health sector

Mathias Mallia Monday, 22 August 2016, 11:13 Last update: about 4 years ago

The government today signed an agreement with the General Workers Union which deals with conditions of work for employees in the health sector throughout the privatization process of St Luke’s Hospital, Gozo General Hospital and Karen Grech Hospital.

In a short address, Health Minister Chris Fearne insisted that, despite any prior disagreements with unions, every concerned body must pull one rope to make the government’s vision of the health sector a reality.

Mr Fearne spoke about the ambitious dreams that this government has to make the health sector a global competitor in terms of quality and innovation. Once all the problems which the Minister said this government inherited in the sector were dealt with, it is now time to move forward.

The GWU understood the need for new concepts in the sector and offered full cooperation, Mr Fearne said, adding that the main point of the agreement with the GWU and another agreement signed with the MUMN is to safeguard all the previous collective agreements which the employees had, as well as to maintain their working conditions. It was also repeatedly insisted that health services will remain free as it has always been to the Maltese and Gozitan public.

Malta is a hotspot for international tourism and Mr Fearne believes that this success will also translate equally well in the medical tourism industry. The GWU covers the ambulance workers, security, cleaners and phlebotomists among other workers and it was important to ensure that all the employees know that their employment benefits and conditions will remain the same despite privatization.

GWU Secretary General Josef Bugeja said that it has taken a while for the Union to be ready to sign the agreement because it wanted to make sure that all concerned were consulted and all details were adequately gathered.

Mr Bugeja said that this agreement will guarantee that people not only have a guaranteed job, but a career. He added that all the workers deserve the best in terms of benefits and opportunities considering the intense dedication that the job entails. His final point was that, along with the government, the GWU believes in the potential of increasing the standards of the sector for a universal increase in quality of life.

 

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