MAM general meeting - Collective agreement not signed - 1/11/2005

Following an extra ordinary general meeting it was unanimously decided NOT to signed the civil service government collective agreement.

link to article in The Times
Family friendly measures in civil service collective agreement
Natalino Fenech

The new collective agreement for the civil service signed yesterday between the government and representatives of five trade unions contains several family friendly measures, apart from increases in salaries.

The agreement was signed yesterday at Castille by representatives of the Union Haddiema Maghqudin, the Malta Union of Teachers, the Malta Union of Professional Psychologists, the Malta Union of Midwives and Nurses and the General Workers' Union in the presence of Prime Minister Lawrence Gonzi and Parliamentary Secretary Tonio Fenech.

Through the new agreement, mothers in employment can keep working on reduced hours until their children are 12 years old. The agreement also brings more flexibility in the use of parental leave while vacation leave will be broken down in hours so that one can make use of as little as four hours in a day.

Substantial increases will be given over the operative period of the collective agreement, which was signed after 22 sessions of negotiations and runs until December 2010.

For the first time in the history of the civil service, a conciliation board will be set up so that when industrial action is declared, one can resort to conciliation.

GWU section secretary Josephine Attard Sultana said a sense of maturity prevailed during the talks and Employment Minister Louis Galea was instrumental in leading the way when the going in negotiations was tough.

"Everyone acted responsibly and we got the best in the circumstances," she said.

MUMN president Rudolf Cini said that in spite of the ups and downs in the negotiations, a positive agreement which motivated workers and strengthened the public sector had been reached.

Bernard Caruana, from the Psychologists' Union, said unions worked as a team to reach the agreement which was "good in the present circumstances".

MUT president John Bencini too thanked Dr Galea and hailed the sense of responsibility that prevailed among the trade unions. "The agreement shows that unions have a duty towards their members as well as to the country," he said.

UHM president Gejtu Tanti said the negotiations that spanned over seven or eight months were intense but the union was satisfied its aspirations had been met.

The issue of extending the period of reduced hours for working mothers, the conciliation mechanism and the increases in salaries were the three most salient points in the new agreement, Mr Tanti said.

Dr Gonzi said the agreement covered a six-year period and this was a new concept that should give more stability. "I am satisfied that mature discussion led to a satisfactory conclusion," he said.

Dr Gonzi said talks were still underway with the Medical Association of Malta, the doctor's union, as a number of issues were still pending. However, the government felt it should not hold the other unions from signing the agreement as talks continued with MAM.

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