7 – 13 February 2001

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Beggars cannot be 'choosers'

As we write the motions over the La Salle job at the dockyard are in full swing. We now know that the Labour party is prudently against the La Salle entering the dockyard. An entity that receives more than Lm10 million a year in subventions from the state.

Yet our gut feeling is if this had happened when Alfred Sant was PM he would have gladly welcomed the La Salle, such was his politics in that two-year term or shall we say his flirtation with Thatcherite policies.

As Sant spoke, the union smiled and declared that it would object to the Lm8 million job.

Confirmation that the leaders of the union at the dockyard plan to undermine the commercial viability of the yard.

And this comes at just the time when the union is involved in another embarrassing moment: the fudged EU report.

It was left to the finance minister John Dalli to raise the spectre of Gahan (the village idiot) to the GWU's puerile attempt to present a warped analysis of Europe.

And it was The Business Times that first came up with the story that there was another unpublished GWU report even though a St Julian's based newspaper went as far as attempting to take the credit for the story.

The proof of the pudding is in the eating; the union deliberately side-stepped the reports commissioned by their own selected experts.

And worse still when they realised that the reports were not as damning as they should have been, someone unilaterally commissioned a separate report.

The problem is that Mr Zarb does not really dislike the notion of a Malta in the European Union, but he knows that if he carries such an idea forward – there is a very good chance that his future as Secretary General will be over.

And let us face it, Mr Zarb has nowhere to go when he leaves the union.

It is that simple.

Mr Zarb is scared of losing his post and the end result is that his vision for his members is not based on the future but on a short-term perspective.

This is sad.

Mr Zarb has been through some very difficult and embarrassing moments. First we had the 60,000 signature flop and the brave stand taken by him to defend such an unhappy invention and now we have the La Salle affair.

And the union's short-sightedness in objecting to the work because of Mr Sapiano and Mr Coleiro.
Everyone knows that the dockyard is in dire need of work – the workers know it and they would gladly welcome any form of work.

What we have here is a union that is hijacked by the wrong people for the wrong reasons.

The government should resolve to be adamant on all issues, more so on the La Salle affair. If this does not materialise then we should encourage the Government to rethink its subsidy programme to the dockyard.

Beggars, dear union, cannot be choosers.

The Business Times, Network House, Vjal ir-Rihan San Gwann SGN 07
Tel: (356) 382741-3, 382745-6 | Fax: (356) 385075 | e-mail: editorial@networkpublications.com.mt