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No service bonus for early retirement takers - Gonzi

Ray Abdilla

Workers who are 56 years and over will not be receiving their service bonus if they choose to take up a retirement scheme which lately came in to force at both the Drydocks and the Malta Shipbuilding.

The scheme is a full and final settlement and therefore no additional payments are envisaged, Social Policy Minister Dr Lawrence Gonzi told The Malta Financial and Business Times.

The service bonus is a bone of contention with the Dockyard section of the GWU.

If the Marsa and Bormla shipyards restructure move according to the plans laid out by the Drydocks task force in seven years’ time the companies could see their combined turnover almost double, government subsidy would go down by Lm14 million and the workforce would be more than halved.

The plan is an ambitious one and despite the resolve government has shown to tackle the problematic shipyards there is an amount of scepticism about the scheme.

The restructuring kicked off as early as the beginning of this year with the launching of a number of early retirement schemes intended to reduce the workforce. If everything goes according to plan more than 1,400 workers are expected to take up the various retirement schemes in the next three years.

Scheme A looks the one most likely to succeed because it concentrates on the ones who are over 56 years of age. But with the Service Bonus not part of the deal it may scare some people off.

The scheme is open until the end of May but if one applies for the scheme by later than end of March he will lose 10 per cent, while another 10 per cent will be lost if the application is reached by May.

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