Seven former power station officials who say they faced “blatant” workplace discrimination have launched two-fold legal action after failing to convince authorities that they deserve redress. 

The seven applicants at the centre of this years-long saga are employees at Engineering Resources Limited, specializing in electronics, who were seconded to work as principal control and instrumentation officers with International Energy Services Centre Ltd (IESC) at the Delimara power station. 

They filed a judicial protest in February 2022 claiming that they had suffered eight years of workplace discrimination. They claimed that they were being denied their legitimate grade and bullied. 

When their first judicial protest was ignored, the group filed a second one in October 2022. But their workplace situation remained unchanged, despite meetings at ministerial level, right up to the office of the prime minister. 

They have now taken their grievances a step further by filing two judicial actions.

In the first case Ludric Vella, Joseph Cassar, Sinclair Tabone, Edmund Vella, Justin Abela, Ivan Scicluna and Reno Tonna are requesting the civil courts to reinstate them in a higher grade with all rights, increments and benefits and to award them financial and moral damages.

In the second case filed before the First Hall, Civil Court in its constitutional jurisdiction the seven applicants are claiming that they have suffered discrimination and inhuman or degrading treatment and are calling upon the court to grant all adequate remedies. 

Both cases were filed against Engineering Resources Ltd, International Energy Service Centre Ltd and its executive chairperson Ing. Johann Zammit, the Environment and Energy Ministry and its permanent secretary. The State Advocate is also respondent in the breach of rights case. 

The applicants claim that after years of workplace bullying and discrimination, tantamount to “apartheid,” in June 2022 they were informed by e-mail that their “secondment with IESC has been revoked with immediate effect” and that they were to report at Engineering Resources Ltd. 

They knew very well that that decision was taken on a personal basis by Ing Zammit and was not in the best interest of IESC since there was no one to replace their expertise there, claimed the applicants. 

In fact, when their secondment was revoked they spent months with no workplace until they were assigned duties at the government garages.

Their specialization in electronics went to waste. 

In October 2023 an internal call for ‘principal power plant maintenance officer’ was issued. But it was evidently tailored for two particular applicants “whose names were known,” claimed the applicants. 

Those two applicants got the post which the applicants themselves had long been struggling to attain. 

The seven officials claim that all this stemmed from IESC chairman Zammit who wanted to “accommodate third parties close to him who benefit from certain protection and whose identity is well known to the applicants.” 

All seven claim that they never committed any wrong at the workplace and were never targeted by disciplinary action. They always worked diligently. 

Zammit appeared to act with “total impunity,” taking the lead with “his clique” instead of the board of the directors leading the way, claimed the applicants. 

Lawyers Michael Tanti-Dougall and Tonio Azzopardi are assisting the applicants in both cases. 

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