The Centre for Labour Studies (CLS), celebrated its 40-year anniversary at the Aula Magna, University of Malta, Valletta Campus on Wednesday 24 February 2021.
The event was opened by Professor Alfred Vella, Rector of the University of Malta. This was followed by a keynote speech by Professor Edward Zammit, the first Director of this Centre, which was set up in 1981. Professor Zammit noted how the CLS was the first autonomous ‘prototype’ Centre at the University of Malta, that has grown from its roots of fostering participation amongst Dockyard workers, and providing such workers with a doorway into higher education, to one that has gone on to offer diplomas and degrees in subjects such as Industrial Relations, Gender Studies, Human Resources, Occupational Health and Safety, and Career Guidance.
He also reflected upon some of the CLS’ local work, such as the Centre’s efforts to assist in the training of trade union officials and expanding effective cooperative societies in Malta, whilst also highlighting the Centre’s international efforts, such as its ongoing work with the European Foundation for the Improvement of Living and Working Conditions (Eurofound).
A panel discussion chaired by Professor Godfrey Baldacchino then discussed how work and industrial relations have changed over the last 40 years. The panellists were: Mr Josef Bugeja, Secretary General, General Workers Union; Mr Marco Bonnici, President, Forum Unions Maltin; and Ms Diane Vella Muscat, Director General, Department of Industrial and Employment Relations. It was also announced that a book edited by Dr Manwel Debono and Professor Godfrey Baldacchino is to be published in the coming months entitled ‘Working Life and the Transformation of Malta: 1960-2020’.
Following the panel discussion, political guests provided their views on relevant changes that have occurred in the Maltese industrial and occupational landscape. These included, Hon Jason Azzopardi, Opposition Spokesperson for Employment, Enterprise and Industrial Relations; Hon Carmelo Abela, Minister within the Office of the Prime Minister responsible for Industrial and Employment Relations; and Hon Clyde Caruana, Minister for Finance and Employment. Final comments were provided by past directors of the CLS, including Mr Saviour Rizzo, Dr Manwel Debono and Dr Anna Borg.
The event was closed by the Centre’s Director, Dr Luke Fiorini.