Employers’ organisations and workers’ unions have agreed that there is a need to reform the industrial tribunal which has been in existence since 1975. During a conference organised by the Malta Employers’ Association (MEA), the need for this reform and the way forward were discussed.
The theme of the conference was ‘Industrial tribunal reform, why is it needed?’. The social partners in the field of employment put forward their proposals for reforms so that the industral tribunal can be more efficient.
The UĦM and the CMTU agree that this tribunal should be led by a Magistrate and not by a Chairman appointed by a Minister.
UĦM Chief Executive Officer Josef Vella said, “we want to see a full-time magistrate on the industrial tribunal who deals with employment law because the workforce produces and gives this country a revenue of 11 billion Euro a year, so it would be best to see a structure which is professional and serious.”
The President of the CMTU Dr Martin Balzan said, “we believe that employees deserve a fair hearing which is efficient, and which is given in a short period of time. For a fair hearing, it is important to have a Magistrate or someone with legal experience who can give a ruling, while also using the help of experts in the field of trade unions or employment contracts.”
GWU Secretary-General, Josef Bugeja, said that on the industrial tribunal there should still be representatives of the employers and the employees. “We do not wish the format to be changed completely because the relationship at the place of work is a bit different from a legal point of view. At the workplace, you have the human aspect which sometimes takes over.”
The Director General of the Employers’ Association, Joe Farrugia, said that the time has come for reform.
“We are proposing that the tribunal should always be composed of a chairman who would be a lawyer with a certain amount of experience, assisted by an employers’ representative and a worker’s representative.”
During the conference, experts in industrial relations and members from both side of the House took part.