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Title: Unrest at Malta Shipyards over financial situation
Authors: Rizzo, Saviour
Debono, Manwel
Keywords: Labor unions -- Malta
Industrial relations -- Malta
Malta Shipyards Ltd. (Firm)
Shipbuilding -- Malta
Issue Date: 2007
Publisher: European Foundation for the Improvement of Living and Working Conditions
Citation: Rizzo, S., & Debono, M. (2007). Unrest at Malta Shipyards over financial situation. European Foundation for the Improvement of Living and Working Conditions. Retrieved from:
Abstract: While the reforms introduced to make Malta Shipyards economically viable have had a positive impact, the Minister for Investment, Industry and Information Technology has expressed dissatisfaction with the company’s productivity level. The minister has also alluded to the possibility of reducing the workforce or lowering wages. The General Workers’ Union expressed its readiness to discuss the issues but stated that it would not accept any dismissals. Malta Shipyards Ltd ( is a merger of two state-owned entities, namely, Malta Drydocks Corporation and Malta Shipbuilding Company Ltd. These two companies had been running at a loss for many years and required government subsidies to continue their operations. In the accession negotiations leading up to Malta joining the EU in May 2004, the Maltese government obtained a derogation (// /derogation) that allows it to continue its policy of subsidisation up to 2008. In order to make the merged company economically viable, an agreement was reached between the General Workers’ Union (GWU ( and the government to lay off 900 workers, on the condition that the dismissed workers were to be offered a pre-retirement scheme; those who refused were to be transferred to another public sector position (MT0312102N (// /restructuring-of-malta-drydocks-and-shipbuilding)). This merger, effected in 2003, was followed by the signing of a collective agreement which included measures that brought significant changes in the substantive and procedural aspects of work at the company. In order to reduce overtime (// /ef/observatories/eurwork/industrial-relations-dictionary/overtime), the working time (// /working-time) was rescheduled, with workers having to work on a shift basis when there was an overload of work. Changes were also made in the work organisation to increase productivity. In the meantime, efforts were to be made to diversify the operations of the yard.
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