Fabian Demicoli

Lotto Receivers stay closed


Lotto Offices, members of the Lotto
Receivers Union who have recently affiliated to the Malta Chamber of Small and
Medium Enterprises, GRTU, remained closed today after a dispute with Maltco.Maltco Lotteries Limited, a subsidiary
of Intralot Greece was awarded a 10-year concession and a licence to operate
the National Lottery of Malta. The award was granted following a competitive
tendering process.

After the award Maltco requested each
individual lotto operator to sign an individual Agency Agreement according to
their own terms and unless one signed the agreement by a fixed date, his /her
livelihood would have been switched off. In 2012 all POS terminals at the lotto
booths can be switched off from Maltco's Head Office in IKLIN.

Whilst this parameter already leaves
much to be desired, Maltco, immediately after the signing started requesting
individual lotto receivers to increase their guarantee and additionally
requested also the Lotto receivers Union to increase their collective guarantee
by a substantial amount too.

An operator who could not increase his
guarantee from Euro 10,000 to Euro 24, 000 as requested by Maltco had his Point
of Sale (POS) Terminal disconnected. GRTU requested an immediate meeting with
Maltco over the issue. Maltco outlined that they are only able to meet after
the 17th of September 2012. GRTU has no problem with meeting after
the 17th of September but cordially requested Maltco to reactivate
this member s POS until discussions are held.

No answer was forthcoming and GRTU
turned to Intralot in Greece for answers. Intralot cordially redirect us to
Maltco's closed doors. GRTU has been around since 1948 working hard to make
sure that self employed are given their dignity and that their conditions
continue to improve year after year. It has been quite a while since a Maltese
Company or an Authority or a Ministry or a foreign investor for all that
matters not to accept to sit around the table and discuss this now important
issue.

As outlined priorly, because Maltco,
CEO is a very busy man  we do not expect
overnight treatment, but if one is not able to meet one can surely ethically
accept to reactive the livelihood of an individual and then discuss this issue
at a later stage, when they have the time.

But this is probably not an issue of
guarantees, it is more an issue of might is right. What is also lacking in the
picture is the lack of initiative from Government's point in respect to the
livelihood of so many lotto receivers and their dependents. Maybe Government
has tied its hands in the way it can handle Maltco over the next ten years.
GRTU has no copy of the agreement reached between Government (through the
Privitisation Unit) and Maltco. We will of course be asking for this.

Friday 7th September is
truly a sad day for Malta, a very sad day. Government's intervention was not
enough to bring two parties to a table. It is ironic that a few months back
Malta grasping the value of solidarity forked out millions to Greece and now we
have Greek citizens employed with a Greek Multinational who with the touch of a
button are able to switch off the livelihood of self employed Maltese in the
gaming sector.

They have done so a month ago,
enforcing each and every lotto receiver to sign an agreement with no
discussions.

GRTU asks.  Are we back to the 60's and 70's. Are we back
to the colonial times? Have we lost our identity? Who is in the driving seat?

Whilst we are totally in favor of decent foreign investment,
we are not in favor of Government selling our blood to foreigners at any cost.
After all we are human!

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