Fiduciary Obligations of a Union under scrutiny

The civil court found that the Unjoni Haddiema Maltin – Voice of the Workers (UHM) had acted in a responsible and diligent manner when signing the sectoral agreement for the health sector, and that the union had carried out its duties as per its own statute, a press release issued by the same union said.
The civil court, presided by Judge Joseph Zammit McKeon, was hearing a case instituted against the UHM by 10 professionals within the health sector – Joseph Castillo, Noel Ciantar, Martin Francalanza, Francis Laus, Rita Micallef, John Mifsud, Margaret Muscat, John Salamone Reynaud, Cynthia Scerri and Andrew Scicluna – which was opened in 2013 and where €500,000 in damages was demanded, the Union noted in its statement.

The UHM said that these professionals wanted to be the only professionals to gain a raise in their salaries through a promotion, at the expense of 44 other workers who were eligible for the said promotion. The union said that these 10 professionals expected that even though the government had implemented a reform on the whole sector, which meant that 54 were eligible for promotion, only 10 would be eligible for that promotion.The UHM also said that even after the agreement had been signed, these aforementioned professionals continued to put political pressure up to the point that on the eve of the 2013 election, the UHM received an addendum in favour of the workers.
On their part, the union said that the sectoral agreement was subject to a democratic vote to its members which work within this sector, and that the union had been ready to discuss the terms within the agreement.
The statement goes on saying that the civil court hearing the case on 30 October found that the UHM had acted in a responsible and diligent manner, that it had followed its duties as ascertained in its statute, that it had shown no preference or prejudice to any members, that there was no proof that the union had acted in bad faith, and that after the agreement was signed the union had remained available for discussions subject to the interests of the rest of its members.
The UHM said that throughout the process of the case, it received legal assistance from Ian Spiteri Bailey.

The Malta Independent on Sunday (11/11/2018)

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