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Malta  Malta

Key Facts

Population417,520
Collective Bargaining Coverage 61%
Proportion of Employees in Unions 51%
Principal Level of Collective Bargaining

company

Workplace Representation

union – with other representatives for those with no union

Board-level Representation

no

Company Board Structure

monistic

Sources: see individual country sections; where a range of figures has been quoted, the lower number has been taken

Trade Unions

Union density is relatively high in Malta, with around half of all employees belonging to unions. Two main union groupings, the GWU and UHM, face one another, both organising a wide spectrum of workers, although some occupations, such as teachers, bank employees and nurses, are in independent unions. There are political differences between the two main groups and relations are often tense, although there have been some recent attempts to develop a more collaborative spirit among trade unions.

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Collective Bargaining

The key level for collective bargaining is the company level. There is also protection for those not covered by collective bargaining through a series of wage orders for specific industries that set minimum terms, and a system of partial pay indexation through “cost-of-living” adjustments”.

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Workplace Representation

In Malta it is the union – provided it is recognised by the employer – that normally represents the employee at workplace level. But EU directives have led to new arrangements for non-unionised employees. But it does not seem that these have been taken up to any extent. In addition, they still give clear primacy to the union, as they disappear if a union is established.

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Board-level Representation

Employee representatives in companies at board level have now largely disappeared in Malta, and are now only found in companies belonging to the union or the Malta Labour Party.

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European-level Representation

Most Maltese employee representatives for European bodies are elected by a ballot of the whole workforce. However, the legislation is less clear for Maltese members of the representative body and the board of a European Company set up under the fallback procedures.

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Health and Safety Representation

Workers’ health and safety representatives represent Maltese employees in the area of health and safety. However, the legislation does not specify how many should be appointed or define their precise powers. They should be chosen by the employees in the first instance but, if the employees do not make a choice, the representatives are appointed by the employer.

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Financial Participation

It wasn’t until the privatization wave in the 1990s that a stock exchange was opened in Malta. Since then, public interest in share-ownership has risen slightly accompanied by a slight growth in employee financial participation schemes. Even so, the incidence of employee financial participation in Malta is low in comparison with other European countries.

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