A circular sent by Enemalta’s HR department asking its 1,500 employees to provide their ‘personal’ mobile numbers and e-mail addresses may be in breach of data protection laws, according to Commissioner Joseph Ebejer.

Times of Malta is informed that the corporation’s new HR manager, former General Workers’ Union official Roberto Cristiano, recently gave employees two days to send in their personal contact details.

Various Enemalta workers who contacted Times of Malta complained Mr Cristiano had no right to ask for such information as this breaches data protection law.

This newspaper is informed that some employees protested this issue with the HR office and refused to pass on their information.

However, the HR department still insisted on its ‘right’ to have such information, citing “better communication between Enemalta and its employees.”

Following a request by Times of Malta for the data commissioner to review this circular, Mr Ebejer said it “raises privacy considerations.”

“Unless there is a provision in the contract of employment stating otherwise, if such personal information is not work-related or linked with an allowance or a fringe benefit, the individual’s consent should be sought first,” the commissioner said.

“The information would have to be given only on a voluntary basis,” he specified.

When contacted over his ‘illegal’ request, Mr Cristiano, who is also Gżira’s Labour mayor, did not want to comment and said all questions must be referred to the communications office.

Earlier this month, following another circular by Mr Cristiano informing the company’s teleworkers of changes to their working conditions, the GWU had to intervene to calm down the furore.

The decision was reversed within a few hours.

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