18 July 2001

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MLP exponents give conflicting views on Price Club redundancies

The Price Club redundancies have sent the Labour Party reeling in two opposite directions with finance spokesperson Leo Brincat cautioning against government intervention while Karl Chricop, Marie Louise Coleiro and Chris Agius chiding government for staying out of the issue.

In a media release issued yesterday, Labour MPs Karl Chircop, Marie Louise Coleiro and Chris Agius described the Price Club and Super Master redundancies as a sign of government’s failed policies.

The three MPs asked whether government’s declared intention of not intervening in this private sector issue, is a sign of the ‘social justice that the Nationalist Party believes in.’

However, only last week, in a comment given to The Malta Business and Financial Times, finance spokesperson Leo Brincat said: "The Price Club issue does not concern government as much as it concerns the creditors."

The same feeling was expressed by GRTU Secretary General Vince Farrugia who stated that it is the market that should determine how the Price Club scenario will be solved.

"You either believe in competition or else you do not," Mr Farrugia told The Malta Business and Financial Times last week.

Nonetheless, under the guise of public demand, the Chircop-Coleiro-Agius trio asked government to shoulder its responsibility in the Price Club issue.

In true European style, the trio then called on government to enact laws and regulations to ensure that in situations involving worker redundancies, employees’ rights would be protected.

Following severe financial difficulties and failed attempts to get back on its feet, the Price Club chain axed more then 400 employees.

Meanwhile the scenario is still uncertain as intense negotiations are still underway between creditors and the Price Club owners in an attempt to reach a solution.

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