02 August 2006

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Business Today

GWU official files injunction against union

Karl Schembri

General Workers’ Union Section Secretary Josephine Attard Sultana yesterday filed a prohibitory injunction against the General Workers’ Union’s central administration in a bid to stop an extraordinary general conference called to remove her from her post.
Presented by lawyer George Abela, yesterday’s injunction is the latest confirmation of the union’s internal conflicts between the hardline faction led by Secretary General Tony Zarb and his deputy Gejtu Mercieca, and the moderate faction made of Attard Sultana, Karmenu Vella and Manuel Zammit.
Attard Sultana, who is secretary of the public sector section, argued in her injunction that the union’s central administration did not have the right to call an extraordinary general meeting on 7 August.
The meeting would have been convened to take a vote of no confidence in her after an alleged 40 per cent of signatures were collected in a petition calling for her removal – a fact also disputed by Attard Sultana after a substantial number of original signatures were withdrawn.
The central administration called for the section members’ extraordinary general meeting after an ad hoc commission decided that there were not enough signatures to call for the meeting.
Through her writ however, Attard Sultana claimed the administration had no right to call next week’s meeting and that it went against the union’s statute.
Beyond the legal wrangle ahead, union sources say Zarb has allowed Mercieca to split the union more than ever before in what remains of last October’s open warfare between Tony Zarb and Emanuel Micallef – who were then contesting for the union’s top job. With Zarb’s landslide victory, Mercieca and his “militant” faction have taken the upper hand despite Zarb’s former promise to step down as union leader.

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