08 March 2006

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Business Today

Mystery fallout leads to Bencini’s resignation from CMTU

Karl Schembri

The Confederation of Malta Trade Unions (CMTU) will have to decide its course of action tomorrow following the sudden resignation of its president, John Bencini, who stepped down Monday sticking to the statement that his departure was “definitely not for personal reasons”.
Insisting he will remain heading the Malta Union of Teachers, Bencini told Business Today when contacted he was left with no alternative but to resign.
“I might comment further at a later stage,” he said. “What I can say at the moment is that this has nothing to do with personal reasons.”
He declined to give further comments although he said he might shed light on his resignation later on.
“I will speak later,” he said.
The reasons for Bencini’s decision remain shrouded in mystery. Trade union sources say Bencini had disagreements with the Union Haddiema Maghqudin – an issue denied by UHM Secretary General Gejtu Vella when contacted.
“We’ve worked fine with Bencini,” Vella said. “We’ve agreed on representation of unions on the CMTU, so there was no disagreement.”
CMTU officials were tight-lipped about the reasons for Bencini’s resignation. Vice-President William Portelli only said they will discuss it tomorrow morning and issue a formal statement afterwards.
Bencini’s resignation comes just a year since he was elected president following the death Alfred Buhagiar, but Bencini insisted he will remain heading the Malta Union of Teachers and to stand for re-election coming June.
Bencini had emerged as an important player in a changing trade union landscape last year when as MUT president accepted to join the protest march organised by the GWU against government’s decision to ban public holidays falling on a weekend.
His election as the head of the CMTU after Buhagiar’s demise was widely seen as a chance to transform the confederation into a trade union council bringing all unions together in a common front.

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