The Malta Independent 14 November 2019, Thursday

GWU insists that Hal Far centre employees should not pay for any damages incurred

Monday, 21 October 2019, 16:42 Last update: about 23 days ago

The General Workers Union (GWU) is insisting that employees working with the Agency for the Welfare of Asylum Seekers (AWAS) should not be the ones to pay for any damages incurred by the uprising at the Hal Far Open Centre, Kendrick Bondin, secretary for the government and public entities unit within the union, told The Malta Independent.

An uprising occurred at the Hal Far Open Centre overnight, which left a number of vehicles damaged, in addition to a police officer being injured. The police took a number of migrants into custody.

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Bondin spoke with The Malta Independent soon after the GWU held a meeting with the Hal Far Open Centre employees who were, earlier in the day, protesting outside Castille over the incident. Bondin said that the union met with their AWAS members spontaneously.

"They came to our doors and we welcomed them. We listened to their situation, especially in light of what happened yesterday. Unfortunately it was not a pleasant situation for all the stakeholders involved. Primarily we are concerned about the health and safety of our members and all AWAS employees."

"We have been encouraging management and requesting for better security within the agency, and have again insisted for better security measures."

"The Home Affairs Ministry's Permanent Secretary Kevin Mahoney will be meeting us tomorrow afternoon, and we will see the way forward for health, safety and peace within the organisation, for employees and residents. We are also insisting that the employees should not be the ones to pay for any damages incurred due to this riot. The least management can do is cover these expenses."

The GWU, in a statement issued later, said that over the years the employees in this sector faced circumstances that were beyond their control. It said that the union has already communicated with the responsible authorities and requests to increase the security of the AWAS employees were made. It said however, that the union is ready to take the measures required to ensure the interests of the involved workers are protected, as per the law.



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