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Labour critical of stand over Forum

The Labour Party yesterday accused the government of "abdicating its responsibilities" by leaving trade union federation Forum out of the Malta Council for Economic and Social Development.

Forum represents 12,000 Maltese workers in sectors such as health, education, the environment, tourism and finance.

Labour said the government's stance on the issue was just an excuse to keep MCESD's doors closed to Forum.

The MCESD met last Friday and decided to turn down Forum's request to join after failing to agree on a way to let the federation in without upsetting the existing balance on the council.

On Monday, the Forum accused the government of dragging its feet over the issue for five years and passing the buck to the council "when it knew there was nothing in the law which tied it down to seeking the council's consent to amend the law".

The government said Labour's declaration meant breaking the agreement it held with the social partners, something the government was not prepared to do.

It was prepared to welcome Forum within the MCESD but this had to be done with the consensus of the social partners and, so far, there was no agreement on this.

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