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‘Government should have ended half-days’

Tancred Tabone

Tancred Tabone

Summer half-days are a luxury that should have been abolished in the new collective agreement for the public service, according to the president of the Chamber of Commerce and Enterprise.

Tancred Tabone said the Chamber could not understand the logic of the “generous wage increase” for public servants in the €60 million deal that will be signed this week.

“This contrasts sharply with what is happening in the rest of the EU where workers are accepting cuts in their pay and not increases,” said Mr Tabone, whose organisation was not consulted over the agreement, revealed by The Times. The Chamber hoped the raise has been pegged to an increase in performance.

“These negotiations would have been a perfect opportunity for the Government to abolish the half-days which today are widely considered a luxury the country cannot afford,” he added.

The Malta Employers Association said the practice of negotiating such important agreements on the eve of an election should be revised.

Director general Joe Farrugia said that public servants should only be given wage increases if they increased their productivity.

“We are also unhappy with the fact that these important agreements are negotiated and signed just a few weeks before an election. This puts more pressure on the government, particularly from the unions, to give much more than the country affords,” he said.

Civil servants will receive 2.5 per cent every year over the coming five years in a deal the Government says will have no impact on its deficit.

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