MaltaToday, 16 January 2008 | GWU calls for scrutiny of top appointments and lobby meetings
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NEWS | Wednesday, 16 January 2008

GWU calls for scrutiny of top appointments and lobby meetings

The General Workers’ Union has called on political parties to adopt new measures of transparency that would lead to the scrutiny of high powered appointments and the traceability of lobbyists’ meetings with politicians.
In its memorandum to political parties prior to the general election, the union calls for the first time for a public diary of meetings that politicians would hold with private lobbyists in a bid to increase transparency.
The union calls for a five-year strategic plan that should be presented prior to the election that would cover all the essential sectors of society.
The union proposed introducing transparency on the private level, where lobbyists would be regulated in their meetings with ministers and public officials, by keeping public diaries in the same way the President does, and declaring who they have been approached by.
For transparency to reach the highest level, the media has to be given ample and timely information, the union says.
“The time of concealing information is over and unacceptable. The Data Protection Act is meant to protect the citizen not as a smokescreen for government officials,” the memorandum said.
The union also blames the management in ongoing projects that are somehow never finished, affecting workers’ motivation and efficiency.
Parliamentary committees should be used to interview and scrutinise people who are nominated for high-powered positions, and to ensure that only the competent people are appointed to the boards, authorities and government commissions.
Chairmen of public companies need to be accountable and this responsibility should be part of their contractual obligations, including remuneration linked to their real performance.
The union calls for a reform in the government institutions to do away with “outmoded practices, lack of professionalism, lack of accountability in cases of big and serious mistakes, the failure to keep target dates and target costs on the big projects.
The union also says it is unacceptable that government remains silent “when faced with the blatant twisting of statistics in its interpretation and in the interpretation of the economic outlook”.
The union also says oil exploration cannot end up a political football before every election. “Every effort should be done to find this raw material as soon as possible. In reality the people cannot understand how a country surrounded by oil wells still hasn’t found any oil since it started exploration 40 years ago.”
GWU reiterated its call for a reform on MCESD, whereby government would no longer be on the council while the chairmanship would rotate between employers, workers and civil society.
About pensions, the union insists these have to be sustainable and adequate while the second pillar pension scheme has to be a voluntary choice in a bid to ensure that only those who can carry the burden will have to carry it.
Malta Shipyards is still viable if it is managed responsibly and accountably, the union says, but it adds that the number of employees has to be retained, and the ‘yards can be used for great structural projects.
The union also calls for the end of exploitation of irregular immigrants who are employed on the black market.
“Illegal employment of irregular immigrants is on the increase, and they are being paid less and employed in worse conditions than their Maltese counterparts. This has to end,” the union says, proposing the regularisation and levelling of pay and working conditions.
In the reforms, the employer has to be more heavily penalised, certainly much more than the illegal employees.
The union also calls for subsidised property to increase, while the interest rates set by private banks have to be regulated.


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