The Malta Employers’ Association declared that stable industrial relations is one of the cornerstones of Malta’s economic performance. Stable industrial relations are dependent on responsible employers and unions who are aware of and recognise their rights and also their boundaries.
It is established by legislation that only a union that has a majority membership in a company or organisation can make collective representation. This also means that directives for industrial action can only be issued by a union that is recognised by management as representing the majority of employees.
Minority unions can, however represent individual members. The recent cases of industrial actions being taken by unions who do not have a majority of employees in a workplace, the most recent of which being the directives issued by the Union of Professional Educators to Learning Support Educators, are clearly illegal and a threat to industrial relations stability.
They impinge upon the functioning of industrial democracy, and besides disrupting productivity without having any legal legitimacy to do so, they also disrespect the rights of the union that has the legitimate recognition to negotiate collective issues. ‘No workplace should be made to suffer the consequences of such irresponsible rivalry among trade unions’, the MEA stated.