15 December 2004

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FOI rebuts Gatt on yard workers’ private sector redeployment

The Malta Federation of Industry yesterday took exception to Industry, Investments and IT Minister Austin Gatt’s comments in Parliament over recent weeks about redundant shipyard employees and the possibility of their employment with the private sector.
Dr Gatt had expressed his dismay over the inability of the private sector to re-deploy redundant, skilled workers from the Drydocks in spite of an agreement between the government and the FOI to facilitate such a move.
In a statement released yesterday, the states it has “felt the need to clarify the situation for the benefit of everyone. Minister Gatt should not feel dismayed about the inability of the private sector to employ these workers. Instead he should consider his and government’s lack of courage to sign a proper and clear agreement with the GWU that would leave no option open for redundant employees to refuse employment with the private sector.
“In spite of his assurances to the contrary at the time of the signing of the agreement with the FOI Minister Gatt did not manage to convince the GWU to agree that workers declared redundant at the Docks had to accept jobs offered by the private sector. Minister Gatt has repeated the same type of agreement about redundant employees of ex-MDC, METCO and IPSE and the PBS. He should have admitted a deficient policy rather than trying to pin the responsibility on private employers and the FOI.”
The FOI insists that it and private sector firms have no time to lose in useless interviews of persons who have no intention of losing the guarantee given by Government of a job for life in the public sector.
“The FOI is informed that Government had posted these workers with Local Councils and the Education Department, where it is understood they are doing work (if at all) of a much inferior nature to the skills they were exercising in the Docks.
“Minister Austin Gatt has yet to show that he really means business about re-directing redundant persons in the public sector to the private sector.”

Copyright © Newsworks Ltd. Malta.
Editor: Saviour Balzan
The Malta Financial & Business Times, Newsworks Ltd, Vjal ir-Rihan, San Gwann
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