Following the judgement by the Court of Appeal confirming a previous judgment which had found the composition of the Industrial Tribunal as being unconstitutional, the UĦM Voice of the Workers is greatly concerned that the recent developments have cast a shadow of uncertainty over the rights afforded to the employees and their right to seek redress before a Competent Tribunal.
Dr Andrew Grima, one of the UĦM Voice of the Workers Legal Team said that this judgement highlighted the need for a major reform not only in the manner in which the Tribunal is composed but throughout all the pertinent body of laws. Dr. Grima continued to reiterate that “as things stand today, we find ourselves at an impasse whereby although the Industrial Tribunal effectively still enjoys an exclusive jurisdiction to preside over matters falling within the scope of the Employment and Industrial Relations Act, such as unfair dismissal, discrimination and industrial disputes, those seeking to safeguard their interests at law have no alternative but to seek redress before such Tribunal and run the risk of having the proceedings suspended or challenged as being unconstitutional.”
Further to the reports in the local media, whereby it is reported that the Government has instructed the Office of the Attorney General to amend the relative laws, it is not clear whether the pending cases will be suspended or not.
The UĦM Voice of the Workers is also concerned that this situation may have serious ramifications on the decisions pronounced by the Industrial Tribunal in the last years. This would certainly wreak havoc in the whole industrial sector. It further underlines that this issue should have been dealt with much earlier by the Government, since it was aware of such a situation months ago, yet persisted in the same composition notwithstanding such repercussions.
“The Government should have forecasted such a situation and took early measures to avoid the lacuna the industrial sector is facing today”, concluded Josef Vella, CEO of UĦM Voice of the Workers.