Wardens are not issuing traffic fines, not towing away illegally parked cars and most of them are not showing up to reported road accidents in protest against working conditions, and to demand better salaries.

The LESA officials are also showing up to work without a uniform after the General Workers' Union issued the directive over the weekend. 

"If we see you parked on a double yellow line or using your phone while driving, we will still stop you, inform you that you are breaking the law and politely ask you to move your car or stop using your phone. But we will not fine you," one warden told Times of Malta on Tuesday.

The GWU said talks with the agency over a new collective agreement failed. All LESA (Law Enforcement System Agency) wardens are members of the GWU.

After being told that the agency will not be held responsible for any accidents that may occur as a result of the directive, the union intensified the industrial action on Tuesday.

It told LESA officials not to carry the ticket device and not to issue any fines, and to ensure they are not deployed alone, but at least, with one other official.

"But it is imperative that we continue to honour our duties by respectfully drawing people's attention when we see they are breaking the law," the directive notice sent out to wardens read.

"If any officer feels threatened or intimidated for obeying the union's directive, they should inform our representatives immediately."

From Tuesday, wardens are also slower to report to traffic accidents. It is understood that out of six wardens usually deployed to deal with collisions, only one is currently doing the job.

An estimated 60 collisions are reported to LESA daily. These exclude the daily bumper-to-bumper accidents. 

The GWU has been in talks with LESA over the employees' collective agreement, which it says expired over a year and a half ago.

In its directive notice, the union told its members that despite its best efforts to "peacefully" negotiate with LESA, they could not agree "on the financial package that the wardens deserve".

It is understood the union is insisting that wardens' salaries should match prison and detention centre wardens' salaries, and is asking for more robust measures to protect the wardens' safety at work.

Sources close to LESA said the wardens are so far abiding by the directive, but senior management is poorly cooperating.

Questions were sent to LESA.

Meanwhile, the Malta Police Union expressed solidarity with LESA officers, but expressed concerns that the police lacks the personnel to cover for traffic-management responsibilities, including traffic accidents.

"Despite the police force's refusal to accept its failure in this area, it has a significant shortfall of officers to fill without resorting to forced leave or vacation leave cancellation or restriction. To this end, the Malta Police Union's executive committee will debate the topic at its next meeting. Nothing will be ruled out."

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