GRTU Gas section meets Liquigas

GRTU and its members in the Gas Distributors sector has this week met Liquigas in a cordial meeting to discuss a number of issues that were pending and were creating friction between both parties. The meeting was called to trash out these issues and enhance dialogue between both parties with the aim of creating a better working relationship and building trust for the benefit of all the parties involved, including the final consumer.

The relationship between Liquigas and the distributors has been somewhat turbulent during the last years, which all also due to uncertainty in licences and policy. Both parties however seemed intent in putting the past behind them and having a healthy business to business relationship in the future as both parties stated that they are here to stay.

A number of issues were discussed, many of which relate to problems created after Liquigas took over from Enemalta and in the transition some issues affecting the distributors were never ironed out. These included the issue of refunds for cylinder stocks the distributors had to organise to make up for stock flow problems by suppliers. The problem of stocks was solved and distributors sought refunds. Liquigas said that if the paperwork is in order and any mistakes were made in bona fide they have no problem in affecting the required refunds. Other issues raised by the distributors were those on payment procedures and deposits on cages, on which Liquigas were equally forthcoming.

Other issues were also discussed during which the discussion heated up because of the sensitivity of these issues but it was agreed that further meetings were needed.

Throughout the meeting it was reinforced the need to reinforce trust between both parties. GRTU thanked Liquigas for their commitment to the sector and looked forward to future progress for the benefit of both parties. The meeting was attended by the majority of distributors.

 

 

Titnieda l-marka ta’ kwalita ghall-prodotti agrikoli lokali

Is-Segretarju Parlamentari għall-Biedja, Sajd u Drittijiet tal-Annimali Roderick Galdes illum nieda l-iskema tal-Marka ta’ Kwalità għall-prodotti agrikoli lokali. Din il-Marka ta’ Kwalità – li se tkun qed titpoġġa fuq prodotti li jilħqu ċertu livell –
se tkun garanzija li l-prodott li qed jinxtara mhux biss jilħaq l-istandards minimi Ewropej, iżda fih ukoll ċertu kwalitajiet li jmorru lil hinn fil-mod kif ġie kkultivat/mrobbi, mwassal u ppakjat, bil-garanziji ta’ proċess awditjat u ċertifikat f’mod indipendenti.

Is-Segretarju Parlamentari spjega kif din mhux se tkun sempliċiment tikketta li titwaħħal ma’ kwalunkwe prodott, iżda sservi wkoll ta’ protezzjoni għall-prodotti u produtturi ġenwini.

Roderick Galdes irrimarka kif b’din l-iskema, mill-għalqa sal-mejda il-prodott se jkun traċċabli u l-proċess trasparenti. Hu qal li kien ilu jinħass il-bżonn biex bħal pajjiżi oħra, Malta jkollha sistema u prodotti lokali li jaqgħu taħt il-qafas magħruf u sostnut mill-Unjoni Ewropea.

Hu spjega li diġa tnieda proċess ta’ konsultazzjoni dwar l-istandards ta’ kwalità ma’ diversi raħħala u bdiewa f’diversi setturi, b’mod partikolari l-produzzjoni taż-żejt taż-żebbuġa, tadam tal-ipproċessar, laħam tal-fenek, għasel, laħam tal-majjal, ħalib u prodotti tal-ħalib tal-baqar, ħalib u prodotti tal-ħalib tan-nagħaġ u mogħoż, frott u ħaxix frisk, u bajd u laħam tat-tiġieġ. Madankollu din il-lista mhux esklussiva u għaldaqstant aktar setturi u prodotti jistgħu jiġu nklużi fil-futur.

Il-logo intgħażel wara kompetizzjoni b’madwar 100 sottomissjoni minn tim ta’ tlett esperti fil-qasam tal-marketing u komunikazzjoni li b’mod indipendenti għażlu r-rebbieħ. Eventwalment il-logo magħżul ġie emendat skont ir-rakkomandazjonijiet tal-esperti.

NCFHE Seminar: Recognition of Qualifications – Relevance to Employers

GRTU was represented by Ms Carmen Borg at a seminar organised by the National Commission for Further and Higher Education (NCFHE) regarding the recognition of qualifications with particular attention to its relevance to employers.

The opening address was delivered by NCFHE CEO Ms Edel Cassar, whereas two plenary sessions were held. The speakers were MQRIC Head Ms May Anne Ciappara, Research & Policy Manager Ms Christine Scholz and NCFHE Officers Ms Angelique Grech and Ms Shirley Micallef.

Recognition of qualifications is not only a benefit to the individuals having obtained them, but also very central to employers in understanding the qualifications of their current and potential employees and the skills that they represent. Malta’s education system is captured within the Malta Qualifications Framework which is pegged to the European Qualifications Framework and the Qualifications Framework for the European Higher Education Area. This allows Maltese qualifications to be recognised and transferable into other national systems. The Malta Qualifications Recognition Information Centre (MQRIC) offers a wide range of services including the evaluation of diplomas and qualifications as well as the collation and dissemination of information related to professional and vocational qualifications. This is of particular interest in cases of employees with foreign qualifications or for the mobility of foreign employees to work in Malta. A major concern expressed was the delays in the evaluation of qualifications. This was mainly caused by qualifications from third countries which would need to be verified by the relevant national authorities.

There is also a wide range of qualifications which are automatically recognised and would not need to undergo recognition procedures at MQRIC. These include qualifications from public institutions which have self-accrediting status such as the University of Malta, the Malta College of Arts, Science and Technology (MCAST), and the Institute for Tourism Studies (ITS). There are also institutions and programmes in Malta as well as overseas which can be found on the MQRIC website (http://bit.ly/1x9QNI8) that are recognised.

The MQRIC offices are open to the public on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays from 9am till noon and 2pm till 4pm. MQRIC can be reached on 21801411

Bring in Site at Xlendi reduced to ashes Arson suspected

Two sets of Bring in Sites siutated at Xlendi Parking Bay were burned during the night between Wednesday and Thursday this week, more precisely between 12 midnight and 1 am.
These bring in sites consisted of six domed shaped Bins belonging to the Local Council of Munxar and four containers on wheels, property of Green MT, the National Authorised Packaging Waste Complaince Scheme . A total of ten containers and in addition two palm trees, and also a decorative lamp post. We estimate damages at a cost of nearly Euros 6000.

It was a night of dew and some rain so the containers could not have caught fire on their own merit. Arson is definately suspected and the case has been reported to the Police. The Civil Protection were on site within minutes and avoided more damages to other property. We have full confidence in the Police Force and we are sure this suspected arson will be investigated in its proper manner. Such incidents are aimed only to satisfy a single coward’s need and with the resulting inconvenience to the Community. We need to eradicate such individuals and bring them to justice.

The Police would do well to question every one who lives in the area, and go through all CCTVs that show vehicles going to the direction of Xlendi from Victoria or from Munxar to Xlendi during those hours. The investigation needs to go deep. If society wants the confidence of the Police Force to grow, it is such issues that need to be brought to justice. Forgetting the investment involved for the provision of this equipment, this is a concern for the moral fibre of society in general. The Police Force needs to be able to solve such cases. To solve such cases, there needs to be the will power. We cannot treat this matter as just another set of burned bins, with just the words ‘Case Unsolved’ at the end of the Police Report.

As a Scheme Green MT has gone through reporting nearly seventy burned bins in the last three years at an approximate cost of nearly Euros 20, 000. Only one case was solved, an arson of a set in Kirkop Malta.

Such incidents are condemned by not only the Scheme, but also by The Munxar Local Council who strives hard to make ends meet in this Locality. The Munxar Local Council has provided both the residents and the commercial community at Xlendi with a service next to none in respect to Waste Managment, a service which increases during the summer months. Green MT has invested heavily in emptying these bins and making sure they are kept clean despite the problems that we faced daily in peak months. This is a service to the community which we vouch we will continue to give, but we need the support of the Authorities to make sure that we are able to do this without such incidents. More Police monitoring is required until a culprit is caught and brough to justice. We will then name and shame.

We now have to rebuild this site, ten new bins, a new decorative lamp post and unfortunately the two palm trees which will now not survive this ordeal. The case is now left in the able hands of the Police Force. We are sure they are committed to solve this case and hopefully it will not end with the remaining list of unsolved cases. We thank them before hand for their commitment good work to solve this case.

Article by Joe Attard, CEO of Green Mt

Investment Offensive for Europe:

EU Task Force identifies 2,000 potential projects worth €1.3 trillion – The EU Task Force on Investment published a report showing that there is significant potential for investment in Europe. It identifies around 2,000 projects across Europe worth some €1.3 trillion of potential investments, out of which over €500 billion worth of projects could potentially be implemented over the next three years.
Many of these projects are currently not being realised due to financial, regulatory or other barriers. Vice-President Katainen, responsible for Jobs, Growth, Investment and Competitiveness, said: “This report shows there are huge investment needs and viable projects that could lift economic growth and open up more job opportunities in Europe. There has been a severe disconnect between the available investment and credible projects on the ground. We are now taking a big step to restore investor confidence and connect the two.” Any project identified by the Task Force will have to be assessed thoroughly before being considered for finance. The central idea is to provide a pipeline of trustworthy projects which will restore investor confidence and unlock private sector investment to complement finance from Member States and the EU.

For more information can be found at: http://europa.eu/rapid/press-release_IP-14-2480_en.htm

Anti-dumping duties on imports of preserved citrus fruits & aluminum foils from China

The European Commission has just made public the imposition of definitive anti-dumping duties on imports of certain prepared or preserved citrus fruits (namely mandarins, etc.) and certain aluminum foil originating in the People’s Republic of China.

The details for the importation of citrus fruits can be accessed through the link below:

http://eur-lex.europa.eu/legal-content/EN/TXT/PDF/?uri=OJ:JOL_2014_354_R_0004&from=EN.

 

The details for the importation of certain aluminum foils can be accessed through the link below:

http://eur-lex.europa.eu/legal-content/EN/TXT/PDF/?uri=OJ:JOC_2014_444_R_0007&from=EN

Managing Stress and Psychosocial Risks at Work

Free E-Guide by the European Agency for Safety and Health at Work – The European Agency for Safety and Health at Work (EU-OSHA) has officially launched the e-guide on managing stress and psychosocial risks.

The e-guide has been developed as part of the Health Workplace Manage Stress campaign, which aims to raise awareness on stress and other psychosocial risks that may be present at the place of work. The e-guide that has been also developed in Maltese language, will serve as a practical tool for employers and workers in addressing stress and psychosocial risks. The e-guide provides users with relevant national resources on stress and psychosocial risks and includes explanations, advice and examples on how stress and psychosocial risks can be addressed. Despite the fact that stress and psychosocial risks are considered one of the main concerns for workers’ health and safety, such risks are not being identified and managed in an appropriate manner.

 

The e-guide is free of charge and can be accessed online at: http://bit.ly/1BoJsDp

Budget 2015: GRTU expects results

GRTU has had the opportunity to present its priorities for Budget 2015 on numerous occasions at MCESD and directly with a number of Ministers. Unfortunately we received mixed messages on what actually might happen, which leaves us feeling uneasy.

GRTU has put in all the efforts and pressure possible to lobby for what it believes Maltese SMEs are in need of. The only thing that we can do now is wait patiently till next Monday to see whether the message has been delivered and if not decide on the action that needs to be taken.

Unfair Competition

We want to see results and decisive action that addresses the problems we have been strongly highlighting, which have been driving bona fide Maltese enterprises out of business. GRTU is not requesting rash action but it is expecting the Government to take courageous decisions and stand for what it believes in. A year ago Government promised us action in its Budget 2014 speech and so far nothing has materialised.

 

Removing the Eco-Tax

We want Government to keep its promise of avoiding putting honest businesses at a disadvantage. The status quo will no longer be tolerated. GRTU suggested abolishing the Eco Tax in its totality and in its stead implementing the WEEE Directive, which is an EU Directive very similar in scope to the Eco Tax. The Directive should be implemented in the same way it is implemented in other Member States to ensure a level playing field. It is pertinent to note that Malta has already been given a number of infringements in relation to the WEEE Directive and leaving it on the shelf is no longer an option. The single issue that appears to be holding the Government back from total abolition is the €8 Million that Government derives from this tax.

 

Cost of finance

Government promised us it would examine the situation, a year ago, and see whether there is room for corrective action. We have so far been failed by our regulators, the MFSA and the MCCAA. Even the regulators seem powerless when it comes to the banks. The regulators are our only hope for justice. GRTU as the prime interested party is not aware what advancements and what results have been extrapolated. A whole year that should have been used to collect and analyse has so far not reaped any results.

 

Licenses for commercial vehicles

GRTU has called on Government to retract on the increases imposed on licenses of Commercial vehicles. The increase was announced by the previous Government in Budget 2009 and entered into force by the present Government in Budget 2014. Neither Government felt the need to consult the main stakeholders or carry an economic impact assessment to see how increases in commercial licences ranging from 33% to 344% will affect the private sector. GRTU members have reported very negative effects and no one wants to take responsibility.

Attakk Viljakk fuq l-Iskema Green MT

Il-Green MT illum, 14 ta` Novembru, prezentat kawza ta` libell kontra l-Editur ta’ “L-Orizzont”, fuq l-artiklu malafamanti u libelluz li gie ppublikat mill-istess gazzetta imsemmi “Se jkollhom ihallsu intortament ghal Eko-Kontribuzzjoni”.

Green MT qed izzomm lill-Editur ta’ “L-Orizzont” responsabbli ukoll, apparti mid-dani naxxenti mill-malafama, ghal kull telf finanzjarju li l-kumpanija Green MT jista’ jkollha fil-futur minhabba allegazzjonijiet infondati u informazzjoni skoretta.

Ir-Rapport li nghata lill-MEPA kull tlett xhur u fl-ahhar tas-sena 2012, ma fih l-ebda informazzjoni dwar kemm ipoggu fis-suq skart tal-ippakeggjar membri tal-iskema li huma ezenti mill-Eko Kontribuzzjoni. Ir-Rapport jelenka lammont totali ta’ membri ta’ skema u kemm ipoggu fis-suq kollha flimkien. L-Obbligi ta’ dan ir-rapport jaqaw that l-obbligazzjoni tal-permess tal-operat li jinhareg mill-MEPA taht avviz legali 277 ta’ 2006.

L-Iskop makkjaveljan ta’ dan l-Artiklu huwa intenzjonat biex membri ta’ Green MT li llum ghandhom certifikat provizjonali ta’ ezenzjoni mill-Eko Kontribuzzjoni ghas-sena 2014, u li dalwaqt ser ikollhom japplikaw ghal ezenzjoni ghas-sena 2015 jaqillbu l-Iskema u jmorru ma’ Green Pak. Dan ikun ifisser li Green MT titlef introjtu finanzjarju konsiderevoli u jkollha twaqqaf l-operat taghha.

Jidher fic-car li ghal ragunijiet mhux maghrufa l-Editur ta’ “L-Orizzont” qed jaghti appogg totali lill-Green Pak. Dan mhux l-ewwel Artiklu f’sensiela li ippublikat “L-Orizzont”.

L-Orizzont jidher li qed tahdem bi shih biex jinholoq il-monopolju fis-settur tal-gbir tal-iskart tal-ipakeggjar, billi tibqa` biss il-Green Pak waheda bhala skema awtorizzata f’pajjizna.