Strengthening workers by addressing past injustice for the fifth consecutive year
“This is a very meaningful week for all those who believe in the role of workers, thus it is important to remember Workers’ Day because the Labour Government has always had one goal: the fulfillment of justice and social solidarity. We have always sought to protect workers and steer our country forward.” said Minister for Social Justice and Solidarity, the Family and Children’s Rights, Dr Michael Falzon on Monday morning when announcing how the Government shall address once again, the past injustice for the fifth consecutive year.
“We don’t just believe in protecting the workers but moreover we respect them and shall seek justice for them, even though we have no legal obligation to do so” Minister Falzon said. He explained how year after year, throughout these past five years the electoral pledge made in 2013 to address anomalies and past injustice is being fulfilled. The process to undertake this task is being launched with a call for applications for ex corps members established prior to 1979 including port workers and other groups of workers.
Over 5,000 individuals are estimated to be eligible for these grants which shall be paid according to three schemes designed by the Ministry for Social Justice and Solidarity, the Family and Children’s Rights, the Ministry for Transport, Infrastructure and Capital Projects and the Ministry for for Finance and Employment. Approximately €10 million shall be paid between the three Ministries.
The Government has kept its promise and shall issue these payments despite the huge expenditure which increased unexpectedly in the past year to overcome the challenges which were brought about by the Covid-19 pandemic and the assistance provided to affected families and businesses .
These schemes shall be published on Tuesday 27th April on the Government Gazette. The closing date for applications is the 31st of July 2021.
Applications shall be accepted as per the terms and conditions set in the three schemes and which shall be published on the next issue of the Government Gazette. These shall apply to:
1. Persons who entered public service after the 16th January 1979 and who prior to this date served for some time in governmental departments but not as public officers.
2. Persons who were
(i) Employed in a corporation or public sector entity after some time serving in a corporation established prior to 1979; or
(ii) Employees of the Gas Board until its dissolution and were later employed by the Enemalta Corporation; or
(iii) Apprenticed with the Malta Electricity Board until its dissolution and were later employed by the Enemalta Corporation.
3. Port workers who held a licence between the 4th April 1974 and the 1st of June 2007 and who were not licenced after this period.
The first two schemes are being implemented by the Ministry for Social Justice and Solidarity, the Family and Children’s Rights. Over 4,500 individuals may benefit from this scheme for ex corps members who found employment within the public service.
This scheme is tied to the period the applicant worked with public service after having received their official appointment, until their date of retirement. The time the individual spent serving in a Government department but not as a public officer shall not be taken into account for the purposes of this scheme.
The scheme for corps ex members who found employment within the public sector.
This scheme is mainly open for those corps members which were established prior to 1979, who upon conclusion of their engagement commenced employment with entities and corporations of the public sector. This scheme is also aimed at ex employees of the Gas Board who were transferred with Enemalta Corporation and for a small number of persons who were employed as apprentices with the Malta Electricity Board and later switched to Enemalta.
This scheme does not apply to persons who worked with corporations established after 1979 and those persons who receive or are entitled to receive a service pension.
Persons who applied under these two schemes in previous years and are still eligible, need not apply again. The Social Security Deaprtment shall process payments and grants according to the data gathered in previous years.
However in case of the demise of an eligible applicant a new application shall have to be submitted by the widow or authorised heirs. As detailed in the schemes, applications by heirs are required to be presented together with a notarised declaration listing the heirs and who is the heir who is to appear in their name.
This also applies in the case of the demise of an authorised heir. The other heirs shall have to authorise the person among them as their representative by submitting a new application, together with a notarised declaration listing the name and details of the authorised heir.
Applicants are to complete an application form together with all required documentation and send it by post to the Social Security Department or by email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Further information can be found by calling on freephone 153 or on the Department of Social Security website.
Scheme for the ex port workers
The scheme for ex port workers is being implemented by the Ministry for Transport, Infrastructure and Capital Projects as per the agreement reached with the General Workers Union.
This scheme is open to those workers or their heirs who were members of the Port Pension and Contingency Fund between the 4th April 1973 and the 1st June 2007. Over 600 ex workers or their heirs are benefitting from this scheme.
Once again, those eligible applicants who received payments in previous years need not apply. They shall receive a notification in this regards by the the Ministry for Transport, Infrastructure and Capital Projects .
In case of the demise of an eligible applicant or the authorised heir, a new application shall have to be submitted.
During the past years along with these schemes another scheme was open to police officers. This scheme closed last year since as per the agreement with police representatives, the scheme was to be implemented over 4 years.
Around 4,500 police officers in constable, sergeant and sergeant major ranks were paid grants in return of unpaid overtime between September 1993 and December 2009. In total these received just over €8 million.
Since the launch of these schemes in 2017 the global sum of €46 million was paid: an average of €11.5 million per year.
Minister Falzon said that this goes to show the Government’s trust in workers and the way these continue to contribute to the economic growth of our nation. Minister Falzon concluded by saying that the support given to Maltese workers throughout the pandemic was among the highest in the European Union and this has led to Malta being among the three European Union countries where employment increased rather than decreased in 2020. This continues to encourage this Government to work further in the months and years to come.