A collective agreement by the workers for the workers

Malta Public Transport employees will be benefitting from better working conditions, which include an increase in salaries following today’s signing of the collective agreement between UĦM Voice of the Workers  and Malta Public Transport.

“This collective agreement was designed and delivered by the workers for the workers”, Josef Vella, Chief Executive of UĦM  Voice of the Workers, said and added that “UĦM Voice of the Workers not only addressed the financial aspect of the agreement but it also created a balance between the exigencies of work and family commitments.”

“In order to have a good quality public transport system in Malta, which we are committed to provide, we need to involve our employees. We believe this agreement is an important step forward in this direction”, said Julio Tironi, International Transport Director of Autobuses de Leon. “This agreement is  proof of our promise to improve the working conditions of our workers and, as a consequence, to continue improving public transport services in Malta.”

“We believe in recognising and rewarding excellence in our team,” explained Konrad Pulé, General Manager of Malta Public Transport. “In this way we are able to motivate our people to strive for excellence by offering a better financial package, improved work-life balance and opportunity for learning and development.

The signatories to this collective agreement  were Josef Vella, Chief Executive; Jesmond Bonello, Director; Joe  Sghendo, Employment Relations Assistant Manager and Ray Briffa, bus driver; on  behalf of  UĦM Voice  of the Workers whereas Julio Tironi, International Transport Director of Autobuses De Leon; Konrad Pulé, General Manager of Malta Public Transport; Reveriano Soutullo who led the negotiations on behalf of the company and Roderick Bajada, Human Resources Director; signed on behalf of Malta Public Transport. The signing ceremony took place at UĦM Head Office in Floriana on Wednesday 25th May 2016.

Josef Vella,  Chief Executive of UĦM  Voice of the Workers said that the collective agreement depicts a deep sense of commitment towards Malta Public Transport’s workers. UĦM Voice of the Workers presented an agreement within a short span of time, and instead of a three-pager, included more than hundred pages of crystal clear conditions of work.

The  new collective agreement will now entitle the workers to a break that will take no longer than an hour and a half as an exception and 45 minutes as a normal break. Thus workers will now be receiving a higher wage than before, when they were paid less due to longer breaks.

Josef Vella explained that the new collective agreement will enable the workers to work five days a week instead of six days per week as outlined in the previous agreement but keeping the same amount of hours and enjoying an increase in salaries.

Konrad Pulé, General Manager of Malta Public Transport explained the process that led to the collective agreement  between the  two parties. He said that the process was a challenging one but also an interesting one for the company. “Our aim was to change the way collective agreement negotiations took place. I am quite sure that UĦM shares the same opinion and although the negotiations were very tough, the process was calm and had no impact on our customers and on the public in general,”he said.

“Now we can talk about the result, which is a collective agreement that is positive for everyone – for our employees, and for our customers,” he remarked.

The General Manager of the company described UĦM Voice of the Workers as having “a strong voice” which the company appreciates and understands fully. He portrayed UĦM Voice of the Workers as being very professional and very  structured on the  negotiating table.

Konrad Pulé added that “UĦM Voice of the Workers took the approach of asking as much for the employees as possible, while at the same time understanding our commitment as a bus operator, and in the end finding the right balance which is to the benefit of both the employees and our customers.”

Commenting on the collective agreement itself, Konrad Pulé said that if the employees are motivated and if the company invests in its workers, the result is going to be felt not just by the same employees and their families but also by those that use the bus service. “That is the philosophy that the company took towards this collective  agreement,” he  continued.

Julio Tironi, International Transport Director at  MPT, praised the negotiations that took place that ultimately led to this collective agreement. “This is just the beginning of a constructive relationship with UĦM Voice  of the Workers and MPT is willing to strengthen this relationship for the  benefit of the workers in the coming years,” he said.

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