The Union Haddiema Maghqudin this afternoon requested a court to stop the rival General Workers’ Union from concluding or signing any collective agreement with the bus service since there is a pending request for official union recognition. The request was provisionally upheld.
The union also filed a judicial protest against the GWU and Malta Public Transport Services holding them responsible if they continued to negotiate the new collective agreement despite not enjoying representation of the majority of workers.
UHM general secretary Josef Vella told journalists outside court that the union’s legal action was aimed to safeguard workers’ right to join the union of their choice. This was also an attempt to force an independent verification exercise to determine which trade union enjoyed enough workers’ support to merit recognition.
Mr Vella said that according to the union’s records, more than 760 of the company’s 1,100 workers had joined the UHM, after many of them had left the GWU. This, he said, amounted to more than 70 per cent of the total number of employees.
In its judicial protest, filed by UHM lawyer Ian Spiteri Bailey, the union claimed that the GWU and the company were both acting in bad faith when negotiations continued despite the lack of official recognition.
The UHM further claimed that the company had refused to carry out an independent verification exercise to determine who enjoyed majority support.
In its protest, the UHM warned that it would revoke any signed agreement if it was granted sole recognition.