6 NOVEMBER 2002
"We are morally correct in opposing any form of layoff" Joe Morana
Union Haddiema Maqghduin Section Secretary Joe Morana told The Malta Financial and Business Times yesterday it would be vehemently opposing any form of redundancy at Maltapost.
"We are not happy with what is happening. We believe restructuring should have been done a long time ago and we will not let todays workers bear the brunt of the negligence of others who were in charge of the postal service.
"We are determined to resist any redundancy. We are adamant about this position. We believe we are in the morally correct position to oppose this, and this is what we will do."
Mr Morana was reacting to the press statement issued by Maltapost CEO Robert Lake, announcing that an internal study had revealed the company had to be downsized to 550 employees by September 2003. Maltapost currently employs 816 workers.
Despite agreeing that restructuring of the service had to be done, Mr Morana said the downsizing of the workforce had been perceived as a very unfair measure.
"The dire need of restructuring the postal service had been already previously outlined in reports dating since 1993. Why is restructuring now expected to be finalised in a matter of months when this should have been carried out over a number of years?
"Such a make-or-break situation had long been coming. Why was restructuring not carried out in the previous years when Maltapost was being gradually privatised? Back then, workers were being integrated into the public service. Restructuring could have taken place without anyone getting hurt.
"Why do the workers need to pay the price now, for yesterdays negligence?"
Mr Morana said the problem had now grown out of hand, but that the union would not be considering any redundancies. The mishandling of the postal service, he said, is all due to those who in previous years were responsible for its privatisation and who should have taken opportunity to ensure a harmless restructuring.
"The postal services management was always paid well, and yet the reports on restructuring were never paid any attention. On the contrary, they continued to employ more workers", Mr Morana said.
Discussions have now started with Government and Maltapost officials on the matter of redundancies.
With a UHM vehemently opposed to any sort of layoffs, Government is bound to be pressured into accepting a new influx of workers from Maltapost. Concurrently, it has to meet public expectations to downsize the public sector and ease its financial burden.