Fabian Demicoli

“Who will employ us?”

 "This is the question construction workers who have been told to come and lobby at GRTU have asked us" says Vince Farrugia GRTU Director General.

The increases in the charges imposed by MEPA on developers are no joke. Developers are being overloaded with additional tens of thousand of euros in extra charges, at a time when many developers are going on with projects merely to keep their enterprise going and to keep their workers occupied.

One leading contractor very bluntly told the Prime Minister at our Villa Fransica meeting "don't challenge us, we're overloaded with unsold property, we are inventing work to keep hundreds of valuable workers who have worked with us for years and we dearly like to keep employed, but if you think the jobs of our people are less worthy than the jobs of other workers working in factories owned by foreigners, then we'll take your lead and start discharging. We have already shed all temporary workers, part-timers and all sub-contracts". As usual the message fell on deaf ears.

The charges were raised without even consulting with the Users Committee at MEPA or with the Building Industry Consultative Council (BICC), where GRTU stands on behalf of employers in the building industry sits. Why bother? Now developers and contractors are also getting the insults. "We cannot afford to subsidies developers and contractors" declares Parliamentary Secretary Hon Mario Demarco. As if anybody in construction has asked for any subsidy or for any dockyard workers or bus-owner style deal of government fat hand-out!

Employers in the Construction Industry employ thousands of workers, pay millions in taxes and supply the country with homes, factories, hotels and all the projects that make this country worth living in. "It's not subsidies we seek Hon Prime Minister", they told Dr Gonzi at Villa Fransica, "we want respect, we want equal treatment. If your government does not punish other employers in other sectors, why punish us? Who would employ the thousands we employ if we all decide to stop seeking new work and accept the pressure the Banks are making on us all to stop?"

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