Fabian Demicoli

GRTU’s main achievements in 2015

One of the biggest achievements of the organization during 2015 was the initiation of the abolition of Eco Contribution. After years of GRTU representation and complaining about the inadequacy of the law and its lack of logic, 2015 marked the year that started its abolition. GRTU has spearheaded this change and the journey was not an easy one as we faced 

significant impositions from Government due to the income Government derived from this contribution/tax. GRTU has been following the removal of this unjust tax very closely and there is an understanding that Eco-Contribution will be totally abolished in the coming years.

Another major win for the GRTU concerned its long standing crusade against excessive bank interest rates and charges. GRTU’s efforts have led to more affordable means of financing also through alternative sources that work independently of the banks as well as the Micro Guarantee scheme, another product that was developed by Malta Enterprise thanks to the efforts of the GRTU. 

Following insistence pressure by GRTU an investigation was carried by the MFSA as the regulator and the MCCAA as the competition authority that confirmed what GRTU has been arguing against for many years. The investigation focused on the bank’s level of profits, risk rating policies, financial literacy, interest rates and charges.

In 2015 GRTU has won EU funds to the tune of Eur 90,000.00, concluding its first ever European Social Funds project. The funds gave GRTU the opportunity to carry out a vast number of activities and reach beyond its usual capacity, increasing the exposure of the organization.

Thanks to this financing GRTU held two very successful conferences, one related to helping SMEs in reaching their online potential and another related to learning about and implementing the Budget measures. GRTU’s work and what it stands for were showcased through audiovisual tools, write-ups in popular magazines as well as tailor made publications. In addition GRTU also developed its first guidebook and online learning facility.

2015 was also a year were Government started taking concrete action against unfair competition. What has been achieved this year is far from being enough however it constituted an important first step because through intense pressure placed by the GRTU, Government’s policy shifted from one where it was arguing that goods coming from Sicily should be treated in the same manner as those coming from Gozo to one that involved a stronger regulatory framework and a degree of enforcement.

In addition, following GRTU’s campaign against the sporadic licensing of ‘occasional sellers’ Government abolished the exemption threshold of Eur 7,000. This will place the authorities in a position to be able to carry out checks that were impossible with the exemption.

GRTU’s sections have also been very active during 2015 and one of the most active and dynamic sections was the Renewable Energy Section. GRTU has successfully reached an agreement with Government in relation to the allocation of land for PV investments by the private sector. This will help Malta reach its EU 2020 targets and will help the sector through the supply of additional work that is not related to the schemes issued by Government. GRTU will be coordinating the project through a Public Private Partnership.

Apart from working relentlessly for the betterment of its members GRTU has also worked to improve the organization itself. In 2015 GRTU was awarded the Equality Mark by the National Council for the Promotion of Equality. This award is testament that GRTU is an equal opportunities employer and that its employment and working practices are gender neutral and fair.

The application process involved the development of an equality and sexual harassment policy, appointing an employee as an equality representative and implementing family friendly measures and work life balance options.

GRTU has this year also returned to printed media through its collaboration with the business journal – The Executive. This helped GRTU in widening its reach through an already established distribution network and a professional publication. The feedback received on the publication is very positive.

 

The GRTU Executive Council took the bold decision to relocate its headquarters, for the first time placing the GRTU in a position of directly owning the property it operates from. This we believe will drastically increase the value of the organization.

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