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Press release -

Malta Shipyards Ltd yesterday announced it had secured a contract valued in excess of Lm5 million for the conversion of a second heavy lift barge for a repeat client, Fairmount Heavy Transport.

This contract will include fitting of propulsion equipment and on-deck accommodation facilities.

Also yesterday, the government reacted strongly to a letter sent by the General Workers' Union's metalworkers' section to the Malta Shipyard management, accusing it of putting spanners in the works and jeopardising workers' jobs.

The union's metal workers' section said it endorsed a resolution adopted by the workers who demanded, "by right", that a public debate be held unless the management met their claims about the engagement of casual workers and the award of a tender to a company to provide scaffolding services.

The workers said the debate should be held in the presence of the media between the shipyard management and workers' representatives.

"The union's initiative seems to be intent on demolishing what the government and management have been doing to make the shipyards viable and thus guarantee workers' jobs", a strongly-worded statement by the Investments Ministry said.

"The GWU has to realise that management decisions are not subject to approval by workers and less so to a public debate about them. The management has every duty and right to take decisions in the interests of the company while respecting working conditions. This, in the end, would lead to better job prospects," the government said.

"In spite of weekly meetings about the shipyard's financial and commercial position, the GWU does not appear to be understanding anything," the government said.

"The true picture is that this year the shipyards have already exceeded the set targets and the net losses have been brought down from Lm26.6 million before the restructuring exercise in 2002 to Lm8.8 million in 2005. This augurs well for the yards to be viable by 2008," the government said.

"The government is investing Lm7 million to improve the yards' in 2006 so that the yard would be in a better position by 2008, but the union is failing to be part of this commercial reality, is ignoring the results brought about by sane management decisions because of objections from some workers who believe they have a right to overtime and who are endangering their very own jobs in the process," the government said.

The ministry said it hoped the resolution was not part of an orchestrated campaign by the GWU aimed at damaging the prospects the shipyards have as this would lead to loss of the union members' jobs, "as had already happened in other sectors".

Thanks to its most recent contract "from such an important client, Malta Shipyards Ltd has secured one fifth of the turnover target set for 2007. This, together with the secured turnover for 2006, give the shipyard a renewed boost and a conviction that it can competitively attract projects that are of high added value.

"Completion of these projects on time and according to standards will bring the company one step closer to a successful turnaround," Malta Shipyards said.


Rushie
 

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