25 April - 1 May 2001
Demands will cost Lm1 million
By Kurt Sansone
Nobody is willing to reveal the extent of the financial package being demanded by the GWU and UHM for employees in government corporations.
But investigations carried out by The Business Times reveal that the unions are asking for an average increase of Lm7 per week for each of the next three years. If this wage packet is agreed upon, the wage rises in these three corporations alone would cost public coffers an additional Lm1 million over the next three years.
The Business Times attempted to find out the cost of the wage increases on public funds, however Finance Ministry officials directed us towards the unions while the unions and the companies management decided to keep mum while negotiations are underway.
The current spate of industrial strife at the Malta International Airport, the Malta Desalination Services and the Malta Maritime Authority is a result of governments unwillingness to give wage rises unlinked to productivity.
This stand has brought out some differences between the doves and the hawks in the administration; some unrelenting on the issue, others attempting to soften the approach.
Social Policy minister Lawrence Gonzi intervened at the MIA and will shortly be involved in the MMA negotiations. As yet no final agreements have been reached although at the MIA a lot of progress has been registered.
The MIA employs around 700 people while the MDS and the MMA employ 88 and 197 people respectively. The wage packet would see each employee taking home an additional Lm364 per year for the next three years.
If government gives in to the unions claims it is unclear what parameters will be included in the collective agreements
to ensure increased
productivity and efficiency.