News | Wednesday, 09 September 2009

Co-operative for remaining shipyard workers being studied

The General Workers Union Metal and Construction Section President Sammy Meilaq is insisting with government that the remaining 360 workers at the Malta Shipyards should be grouped under a cooperative.
Business Today is informed that a number of meetings between Meilaq and senior government ministers have already been held, and the latter are reportedly “in favour” of the proposal.
But informed sources have told this paper that only a few of the remaining shipyard workers are in favour of forming a cooperative, in-spite of Sammy Meilaq’s insistence that this is the way forward.
Meilaq - who is the former Chairman of Malta Drydocks - is said to be in constant contact with former Prime Minister Karmenu Mifsud Bonnici on the matter, who is reportedly the man behind the proposal.
According to sources, Meilaq has told government that his idea is to have the different trade sections form “unit cooperatives” that will then fall under the umbrella of a “general cooperative.”
Meilaq believes that while the Malta Shipyards will be privatised, the cooperative will be subcontracted for works to be carried out on ships.
But Meilaq has been warned by his fellow workers that the shipyards order books are bare, and work is minimal.
He has been warned that his style of politics is antiquated and is putting their livelihoods in jeopardy as forming a cooperative is a commercial decision which will strike off all workers from government books, leaving them alone to fend for their own survival.
Government has been positively looking into the proposal and has also encouraged Meilaq to look for similar cooperative models in other shipyards.
So far no such model has been found, however trips to Spain have been made and paid for by government.
Asked to comment on this proposal, a former Malta Shipyards director told this paper that government should be happy with such a proposal, as “it is a golden opportunity for government to give Meilaq and the remaining workers the rope they ask for to hang themselves.”



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09 September 2009


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