NEW COL­LEC­TIVE AGREE­MENT

30,000 pub­lic sec­tor work­ers to get pay rise; agree­ment to cost € 17m this year

Malta Independent - - FRONT PAGE - He­lena Grech

Gov­ern­ment and work­ers’ unions have signed the fifth col­lec­tive agree­ment which dic­tates the con­di­tions of work for pub­lic sec­tor work­ers. The agree­ment is to cost €17 mil­lion in 2017, and will in­crease to €20.5 mil­lion in 2024.

The agree­ment will af­fect 30,000 pub­lic sec­tor work­ers.

A pub­lic sec­tor worker, or a civil ser­vant, are all those em­ployed by a gov­ern­ment depart­ment or agency.

The fig­ures quoted in­clude both an in­crease in wages as well as al­lowances, and will be valid for a to­tal of eight years.

Prime Min­is­ter Joseph Mus­cat, while ad­dress­ing the sign­ing of the col­lec­tive agree­ment yes­ter­day, said that the gov­ern­ment has in­vested fur­ther in the pub­lic sec­tor, to keep it in line with the fast-paced eco­nomic growth Malta is ex­pe­ri­enc­ing.

He added that the peo­ple are pay­ing for th­ese wages through their taxes, and the pub­lic there­fore ex­pects a greater re­turn on their in­vest­ment, trans­lat­ing into more ef­fi­cient ser­vices with less bu­reau­cracy.

The agree­ment as­sures a salary in­crease of pub­lic ad­min­is­tra­tion work­ers from the first year that the agree­ment comes into ef­fect.

Sig­na­to­ries to the agree­ment in­clude the Gen­eral Work­ers’ Union, the Malta Cham­ber of Psy­chol­o­gists, Malta Union of Mid­wives and Nurses, the Malta Union of Teach­ers, the Med­i­cal As­so­ci­a­tion of Malta, Union Ħad­diema Magħqudin and the Union of En­gi­neers and Ar­chi­tects.

All those em­ploy­ees who con- tinue to work af­ter re­tire­ment age will no longer lose out on their right to claim pre-re­tire­ment leave, which they had worked for. Such work­ers will be en­ti­tled to this leave when they de­cide to end their em­ploy­ment (likely re­fer­ring to the pre-re­tire­ment leave then paid out to the work­ers).

Em­ploy­ees who work on a shift ba­sis will also ben­e­fit from a change in the shift al­lowance, while those who have ex­tra qual­i­fi­ca­tions above and be­yond what is re­quired of their work will be re­ceiv­ing an in­crease in the qual­i­fi­ca­tion al­lowance.

Mario Cu­ta­jar, per­ma­nent sec­re­tary of the pub­lic ser­vice ad­min­is­tra­tion ex­plained that state ser­vices are en­gaged in about 70 dif­fer­ent sec­toral agree­ments, that will each be com­ing into ef­fect over the next five years.

Dr Mus­cat fo­cused his ad­dress on this gov­ern­ment making strides on the is­sue of pre­car­i­ous work ( prekar­jat). He stressed that there was a con­certed ef­fort and progress to en­sure that work­ers en­gaged with pri­vate com­pa­nies who have been con­tracted to carry out work in gov­ern­ment de­part­ments, such as a clean­ing com­pany, and that work­ers em­ployed di­rectly with the gov­ern­ment, do­ing the same work, are paid equally.

Re­act­ing, the Na­tion­al­ist Party said a PN gov­ern­ment would not only re­spect the new col­lec­tive agree­ment but would also ad­dress great in­jus­tices that ex­ist within the pub­lic sec­tor. It said this leg­is­la­ture has been char­ac­terised by in­jus­tices where work­ers were ig­nored or dis­crim­i­nated against by the high­est civil au­thor­i­ties. The PN said it was also push­ing for the con­cept of ‘equal pay for equal work.’

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