18 - 24 April 2001
Paul Muscat, the GWUís representative at the MIA
Photo by Paul Blandford
UHM and GWU order strike at MIA over collective agreements
In a joint show of force, the UHM and the GWU yesterday ordered a total strike at Malta International Airport over what they said was the Finance Ministryís delay to negotiate a new collective agreement.
MIAís 700 employees went on strike at 2.45PM, slowing down airport operations. The Business Times tried contacting MIAís flight information desk however nobody answered the phone.
The striking employees gathered at the departures lounge. Bormla mayor and GWU representative Paul Muscat was present along with other union officials.
UHM parastatal section secretary, Joe Grillo told The Business Times that the current collective agreement expired three years ago. He said the union gave notice of industrial action at the MIA two weeks ago.
Mr Grillo accused the finance ministry of procrastinating on the matter.
The strike did not effect flight departures and arrivals however the management was seen trying to perform duties normally done by the striking staff.
Mr Grillo remarked, "it is ridiculous that the management tried to minimise the effect of the strike by trying to perform jobs that are not their competence." He added, "managers were also acting as security guards in breach of international safety standards."
In the meantime the UHM is also at loggerheads with government at the Malta Maritime Authority, were workers are on partial industrial action. The issue concerns another elapsed collective agreement.
A couple of weeks ago the UHM filed seven industrial disputes with government entities over collective agreements that need reviewing.