16 - 22 May, 2001

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What the unions want: salary increases of course

This is the second time that this leader is treating the question of collective agreements. We can see that the unions have two languages for one problem.
One union calls for a restraint on public expenditure and, on the other hand, they also call for bloated salaries for their members.
The news that a union was asking for salaries of Lm14,000 plus for not very skilled workers is down-right shocking.
And this is the great advantage of unions. They are like the legal profession - their first commitment is to their clients, the members, fullstop.
Their members are basically motivated by one criterion, their salary.
Other peripheral considerations are very low in the list of priorities.
We have always argued that the government must withstand pressures from the unions and not budge and we would say this irrespective of the government in power.
A more serious consideration, however, is the fact that most of these requests are being made to public companies or semi-public companies.
Most of these already receive sizeable subventions, which will have to originate from direct contributions from tax-paying folk.
And no one is in any mood to fork out more for inefficient, overpaid and under-productive workers.

This cannot go on

We are not accusing anyone of insider trading, but we are far from pleased with the dealings and pressures associated with certain stockbrokers and their relfection on certain share prices.
It would be a dreadful ‘scandal’ if we were to carry the names of stockbrokers who also serve as corporate stockbrokers of different entities vying to and fro, urging investors to sell or buy - in order to either depreciate or ameliorate on share pricing – to accommodate one client at the expense of another.
What is worse is that the stockbrokers are acting in three different ways, they urge some investors to sell, then urge another investor to buy and then talk in private of the long-term viability of the companies.
This continues to fortify our argument that stockbrokers have no place as financial advisors.
We need independent financial advisors who have no strings or profits to watch out for.

Italy incorporated

The Berlusconi victory was not celebrated in European circles. Namely because of the links the media magnate has with the secessionist Lega Nord led by Bossi and the far right Alleanza Nazionale led by Fini.
Berlusconi also survived despite the media attack on his dubious dealings with the Mafia and others.
The Italian electorate were happy to support this man because they adore his success story and his business acumen.
They also gave little or no consideration to the fact that he now effectively owns Rai and Mediaset.
It is now Italy Incorporated and not La Repubblica Italiana. It is indeed a sad story for democracy.



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