NEWS | Sunday, 26 August 2007

Sant’s ‘interesting’ MCESD proposals jars with GWU’s stand

• GWU wants government out of MCESD
• Sant wants the MCESD in the cabinet of ministers

James Debono

Back in March the General Worker’s Union proposed that the government should not participate in the Malta Council for Economic and Social Development.
Five months later the GWU’s secretary general described Opposition Leader Alfred Sant’s proposal to give the MCESD Chairman a place in the cabinet as “an interesting proposal.”
Speaking in March, GWU secretary general Tony Zarb declared: “the government ,irrespective of which party is in power, should not participate in the council. We are not excluding the government, but the government should not be an integral party of the MCESD.”
Contacted by MaltaToday Tony Zarb described Alfred Sant’s proposal to give the MCESD chairman the rank of a cabinet Minister as “an interesting one.”
Tony Zarb sees no contradiction between the GWU’s stance against government participation in the MCESD and the Leader of the Opposition’s proposal to give cabinet status to the body’s chairman.
“It depends from what angle you see it. The Chairman already participates in a number of committees set up by the government. By giving him the same status of a Minister, he will be participating at the highest level. In this way the government will not be participating directly in the MCESD. It will be the MCESD which will be participating directly in the government,” Zarb told MaltaToday.
Although Zarb describes Sant’s proposal as “an interesting one,” he insists that the GWU is still studying this proposal and will insist that its other proposals are also taken on board.
In March, the General Workers Union also proposed that the MCESD chairman should be elected by all the constituted bodies and not appointed by the government as happens today.
The GWU proposed that the MCESD should formed by three groups consisting of seven members each representing employers, unions and civil society. The Union also proposed that the chairperson should be elected by 21 members of the MCESD to serve for two years and that this role should rotate between the three groups. Sant has not yet made it clear whether the MCESD chairman who will participate in cabinet meetings should remain a government appointee.
The GWU was vehemently opposed to giving the body any executive powers. Unlike the UHM, the GWU is against majority voting in what should remain a consultative body.


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