Air Malta employees who feel aggrieved by decisions taken before 2013, or who feel they have suffered some sort of injustice, have been given another chance to file their complaint, the Times of Malta has learnt.
A spokesman for the Tourism Ministry confirmed that this measure applies to present and former employees who had failed to submit their complaints for review in the previous two opportunities, of which they may have been unaware.
“We can confirm that the Tourism Ministry has re-launched a process to investigate alleged cases of injustices [grievances] with Air Malta employees,” the spokesman said.
“This is primarily due to the fact that the ministry has been made aware, through direct correspondence with alleged aggrieved parties, that there are a number of former Air Malta employees who might have not been made aware of the possibility to submit a grievance case.
“This extension seeks to remedy this and to ensure that all employees benefit from the same treatment,” he added.
May not always be fully transparent and independent
Sources said a new grievances board would be set up. The measure comes a few days before the nation goes to the polls in the elections for the European Parliament.
The spokesman said the new process was an extension of the first call in 2014. It can only deal with cases of alleged work-related injustices at Air Malta that have never been submitted before previous grievances or review boards. Cases already decided by past boards will not be re-examined.
There had been a call for alleged grievances in 2014. Then, in 2017, soon after the election that returned Labour to power, a mechanism was set up to review previous cases.
The ministry spokesman said the two boards examined 696 cases of alleged injustices in all.
Claims mainly ranged from alleged discriminatory treatment stemming from lack of a collective agreement and the restructuring process, to pensions adjustments and a few ad hoc compensations.
The spokesman did not specify how many complaints were found to be justified and neither did he provide the total spent on settling the grievances.
In 2017, police officers and former officers had also been given a second chance to file a complaint before the force’s own board. It was open not only to those whose claim had been turned down but also to those who did not apply following Labour’s election win in 2013.
Soon after that election, Labour had set up a number of ad hoc grievance boards in many of the government’s entities to address claims of injustice under the previous PN administrations. This was done despite the establishment of the Office of the Ombudsman in 1995 primarily to address such cases.
Former Ombudsman Joseph Said Pullicino had expressed concern over the setting up of grievance boards, insisting they “may not always be fully transparent and independent, and in many cases lack proper direction and criteria”.
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