Representativeness of the European social partner organisations: Metal sector – Malta

  • Observatory: EurWORK
  • Topic:
  • Dialogue social,
  • Employee representation,
  • Social partners,
  • Relations industrielles,
  • Published on: 22 Décembre 2010



About
Country:
Malta
Author:
Institution:

The aim of this representativeness study is to identify the respective national and supranational actors (i.e. trade unions and employer organisations) in the field of industrial relations in the metal sector in Malta. In order to determine their relative importance in the sector’s industrial relations, this study will, in particular, focus on their representational quality as well as on their role in collective bargaining.

1. Sectoral properties

The metal sector in Malta is a rather small one, employing about 5% of workers. The General Workers’ Union (GWU) is the major union that negotiates on behalf of employees in this sector. It is the only local representative within the European Metalworkers’ Federation (EMF). The Union of United Workers (UHM) and the Association of Airline Engineers (AAE) also conclude some collective agreements in the metal sector. All agreements are based on single employer bargaining.

 

2002

2007

Number of employers

550 (E)

600 (E)

Aggregate employment*

9,500 (E)

9,200 (E)

Male employment*

6,700 (E)

6,800 (E)

Female employment*

2,800 (E)

2,400 (E)

Aggregate employees

8,950 (E)

8,600 (E)

Male employees

n.a.

n.a.

Female employees

n.a.

n.a.

Aggregate sectoral employment as a % of total employment in the economy

7% (E)

5% (E)

Aggregate sectoral employees as a % of the total number of employees in the economy

6% (E)

5% (E)

*Employees plus self-employed persons and agency workers.

2. The sector’s trade unions and employer associations

This section includes the following trade unions and employer associations:

1. trade unions which are party to sector-related collective bargaining; (In line with the conceptual remarks outlined in the accompanying briefing note, we understand sector-related collective bargaining as any kind of collective bargaining within the sector, i.e. single-employer bargaining as well as multi-employer bargaining. For the definition of single- and multi-employer bargaining, see 4.2)

2. trade unions which are a member of the sector-related European federation, namely the European Metalworkers’ Federation (EMF);

3. employer associations that are party to sector-related collective bargaining;

4. employer associations (business associations) that are members of the sector-related European business federation, namely the Council of European Employers of the Metal, Engineering and Technology-based Industries (CEEMET).

2a Data on the trade unionsGeneral Workers’ Union (GWU)

2a.1 Type of membership (voluntary vs. compulsory)

Voluntary

2a.2 Formal demarcation of membership domain (e.g. white-collar workers, private-sector workers, employees in the metal industry, etc.)

The GWU is Malta’s largest general union, representing various employment sectors through its eight sections. Employees working in the metal sector as classified by NACE are represented within three sections of the GWU. These are the Metal and Construction Section, the Manufacturing and SME Section, and the Technology, Electronics and Communication Section. The GWU represents mainly blue collar workers, skilled employees e.g. technicians, and middle management such as supervisors and line managers.

2a.3 Number of trade union members (i.e. the total number of members of the trade union as a whole)

The GWU declared to have 41,343 members in 2007/2008 (A)

2a.4 Number of trade union members in the sector

The estimated number of trade union members in the sector stands at around 3,855 employees.

2a.5 Female trade union members as a percentage of total union membership

Females make up approximately 18% of the GWU’s total membership. The administrative documents of the union declare that out of 41,343 members, 7,383 are female workers.

2a.6 Domain density: total number of members of the trade union in relation to the number of potential members as demarcated by the trade union domain (see 2a.2)

The density of the GWU with regards to the union domain (all the employees of Malta), is estimated to be around 26% (A).

2a.7 Sectoral density: total number of members of the trade union in the sector in relation to the number of employees in the sector, as demarcated by the NACE definition

The GWU claims to have around 45% (E) of the employees that are union members within the sector.

2a.8 Sectoral domain density: total number of members of the trade union in the sector in relation to the number of employees which work in that part of the sector as covered by the trade union domain

Same as above

2a.9 Does the trade union conclude sector-related collective agreements?

Yes

2a.10 For each association, list their affiliation to higher-level national, European and international interest associations (including cross-sectoral associations)

The Metal and Construction Section and the Technology, Electronics and Communication Section are members of the International Metalworkers’ Federation (IMF) and of the European Federation of Building and Wood workers (EFBWW).

The Metal and Construction Section is a member of the European Metalworkers Federation (EMF) and the Manufacturing and SME Section is member of the International Textiles, Garment and Leather Workers' Federation (ITGLWF)

GWU is affiliated to the: European Trade Union Confederation (ETUC), European Union Network (UNI Europa), European Workers’ Education Association (EURO WEA), Federation of Europe Retired Personal Association (FERPA), Council of European professional and managerial staff (Eurocadres), European Transport Federation (ETF), European Federation of Trade Union in the Food, Agriculture and Tourism Sectors and Allied Branches (EFFAT) and European Federation of Public Service Unions (EPSU).

At an international level, the union is affiliated to the: International Labour Organisation (ILO), International Trade Union Confederation (ITUC), International Transport Workers’ Federation (ITF), International Union of Food, Agriculture, Hotel, Restaurant, Catering, Tobacco and Allied Workers’ Association (IUF), International Federation of Building and Wood Workers (IFBWW), Public Services International (PSI), International Federation of Chemical, Energy, Mining and General Workers’ Union (ICEM), Union Network International (UNI), International Federation of Musicians and the International Federation of Workers’ Education (IFWEA).

Union of United Workers (UHM)

2a.1 Type of membership (voluntary vs. compulsory)

Voluntary

2a.2 Formal demarcation of membership domain (e.g. white-collar workers, private-sector workers, employees in the metal industry, etc.)

The UHM, the second largest general union in Malta, represents various sectors and categories of employees.

2a.3 Number of union members (i.e. the total number of members of the union as a whole)

The union declared to have 26,246 members in 2007/2008 (A).

2a.4 Number of union members in the sector

The estimated number of trade union members in the sector stands at around 560 employees.

2a.5 Female union members as a percentage of total union membership

Females make up about 32% of UHM’s total membership (A).

2a.6 Domain density: total number of members of the union in relation to the number of potential members as demarcated by the union domain (see 2a.2)

The density of the union with regard to the union domain (all the employees in Malta), is about 16% (A).

2a.7 Sectoral density: total number of members of the union in the sector in relation to the number of employees in the sector, as demarcated by the NACE definition

The density of the union with regard to the metal sector is estimated at around 6.5%.

2a.8 Sectoral domain density: total number of members of the union in the sector in relation to the number of employees which work in that part of the sector as covered by the union domain

Same as above.

2a.9 Does the union conclude collective agreements?

Yes, the union concludes collective agreements in the sector.

2a.10 For each association, list their affiliation to higher-level national, European and international interest associations (including cross-sectoral associations)

At a national level, the UHM is affiliated to the Confederation of Malta Trade Unions (CMTU). At a European level, the UHM is affiliated to the European Organisation of Public Service Employees (EUROFEDOP), while at an international level it is affiliated to the International Federation of Employees in the Public Service (INFEDOP). Being a member of the CMTU, the UHM is also indirectly affiliated to the European Trade Union Confederation (ETUC), Commonwealth Trade Union Council (CTUC), the European Federation of Retired and Elderly Persons (FERPA) and the International Trade Union Confederation (ITUC).

Association of Airline engineers (Malta) (AAE)

2a.1 Type of membership (voluntary vs. compulsory)

Voluntary

2a.2 Formal demarcation of membership domain (e.g. white-collar workers, private-sector workers, employees in the metal industry, etc.)

The members of the association are engineers.

2a.3 Number of trade union members (i.e. the total number of members of the trade union as a whole)

The union declared to have 75 members in 2007/2008 (A)

2a.4 Number of trade union members in the sector

The number of trade union members in the sector is unknown, but is probably around 30-50 (E).

2a.5 Female trade union members as a percentage of total union membership

There are no women in this trade union.

2a.6 Domain density: total number of members of the trade union in relation to the number of potential members as demarcated by the trade union domain (see 2a.2)

The density of the AAE with regards to the union domain is 8% (A).

2a.7 Sectoral density: total number of members of the trade union in the sector in relation to the number of employees in the sector, as demarcated by the NACE definition

The sectoral density is estimated to be between 0.3 and 0.6%.

2a.8 Sectoral domain density: total number of members of the trade union in the sector in relation to the number of employees which work in that part of the sector as covered by the trade union domain

The sectoral domain density is unknown.

2a.9 Does the trade union conclude sector-related collective agreements?

Yes

2a.10 For each association, list their affiliation to higher-level national, European and international interest associations (including cross-sectoral associations)

The union is affiliated with the Aircraft Engineers International (AEI).

2b Data on the employer associations

There are no employer associations that are regularly involved in sector-related collective bargaining or are members of CEEMET.

2b.1 Type of membership (voluntary vs. compulsory)2b.2 Formal demarcation of membership domain (e.g. SMEs, small-scale crafts/industry, metalworking enterprises, etc.)2b.3 Number of member companies (i.e. the total number of members of the association as a whole)2b.4 Number of member companies in the sector2b.5 Number of employees working in member companies (i.e. the total number of the association as a whole)2b.6 Number of employees working in member companies in the sector2b.7 Domain density in terms of companies: total number of member companies of the association in relation to the number of potential member companies as demarcated by the association’s domain (see 2b.2)2b.8 Sectoral density in terms of companies: total number of member companies of the association in the sector in relation to the number of companies in the sector, as demarcated by the NACE definition2b.9 Sectoral domain density in terms of companies: total number of member companies of the association in the sector in relation to the number of companies which operate in that part of the sector as covered by the association’s domain

2b.10 Domain density in terms of employees represented: total number of employees working in the association’s member companies in relation to the number of employees working in potential member companies, as demarcated by the association’s domain (see 2b.2)2b.11 Sectoral density in terms of employees represented: total number of employees working in the association’s member companies in the sector in relation to the number of employees in the sector, as demarcated by the NACE definition2b.12 Sectoral domain density in terms of employees represented: total number of employees working in the association’s member companies in the sector in relation to the number of employees working in companies which operate in that part of the sector as covered by the association’s domain

2b.13 Does the employer association conclude sector-related collective agreements?

2b.14 For each association, list their affiliation to higher-level national, European and international interest associations (including the cross-sectoral associations).

Please document these data employer association by employer association.

3. Inter-associational relationships

3.1. Please list all trade unions covered by this study whose domains overlap.

The domains of the GWU, the UHM and the AAE overlap.

3.2. Do rivalries and competition exist among the trade unions, concerning the right to conclude collective agreements and to be consulted in public policy formulation and implementation?

Strong rivalries do not exist in the sector but there might be a hint of competition over trade union membership between the GWU and the UHM.

3.3. If yes, are certain trade unions excluded from these rights? For what reason?

In Malta the union that enjoys the company’s industrial recognition is automatically the sole bargaining agency to be consulted on employment relations matters.

3.4. Same question for employer associations as 3.1.

n.a.

3.5. Same question for employer associations as 3.2.

n.a.

3.6. Same question for employer associations as 3.3.

n.a.

3.7. Are there companies and/ or employer associations which refuse to recognise the trade unions and refuse to enter collective bargaining?

No there aren’t, as long as the particular trade union is officially recognised as the sole bargaining agent on behalf of the employees.

4. The system of collective bargaining

4.1. Estimate the sector’s rate of collective bargaining coverage (i.e. the ratio of the number of employees covered by any kind of collective agreement to the total number of employees in the sector).

It is estimated that over 50% of the workers in this sector are covered by collective bargaining.

4.2. Estimate the relative importance of multi-employer agreements and of single-employer agreements as a percentage of the total number of employees covered. (Multi-employer bargaining is defined as being conducted by an employer association on behalf of the employer side. In the case of single-employer bargaining, it is the company or its subunit(s) which is the party to the agreement. This includes the cases where two or more companies jointly negotiate an agreement.)

There are no multi-employer agreements in the sector. The agreements are all single-employer bargaining.

4.2.1. Is there a practice of extending multi-employer agreements to employers who are not affiliated to the signatory employer associations?

No such practice exists.

4.2.2. If there is a practice of extending collective agreements, is this practice pervasive or rather limited and exceptional?

No such practice exists.

4.3. List all sector-related multi-employer wage agreements* valid in 2007 (or most recent data), including for each agreement information on the signatory parties and the purview of the agreement in terms of branches, types of employees and territory covered.

* Only wage agreements which are (re)negotiated on a reiterated basis.

Not applicable.

4.4. List the sector’s four most important collective agreements (single-employer or multi-employer agreements) valid in 2007 (or most recent data), including for each agreement information on the signatory parties and the purview of the agreement in terms of branches, types of employees and territory covered. Importance is measured in terms of employees covered.

Four most important agreements in terms of employees covered
Bargaining parties Purview of the agreements
  Sectoral Type of employees Territorial
ST Microelectronics Malta and the GWU

Enterprise-level collective agreement

From lower grade to middle management grades

Applies to around 2,400 (E) employees who work in the Malta plant

Methode Electronics and the GWU

Enterprise-level collective agreement

Various grades excluding engineers

Applies to around 500 (E) employees who work in the plant

Lufthansa Technik and the UHM

Enterprise-level collective agreement

From lower grade to middle management grades

Applies to around 480 (E) employees who work in the plant

Carlo Gavazzi and the GWU

Enterprise-level collective agreement

From lower grade to middle management grades

Applies to more than 250 (E) employees

5. Formulation and implementation of sector-specific public policies

5.1. Are the sector’s employer associations and trade unions usually consulted by the authorities in sector-specific matters? If yes, which associations?

Yes, the trade unions are consulted by the authorities in sector-specific matters.

5.2. Do tripartite bodies dealing with sector-specific issues exist? If yes, please indicate their domain of activity (for instance, health and safety, equal opportunities, labour market, social security and pensions etc.), their origin (agreement/statutory) and the interest organisations having representatives in them:

Although there are no tripartite bodies established in this sector, there was one occasion when the government intervened between the main stakeholders in the sector; that is, the GWU and in this case one of the largest private manufacturing companies in Malta: ST Microelectronics.

At the beginning of 2009, ST Microelectronics announced redundancies. The Maltese government, through the Ministry of Finance, got involved and offered assistance with the aim of avoiding redundancies or at least reducing them. In this case, the government got involved on the basis that ST Microelectronics is the largest export manufacturing company in Malta and the largest employer in the private sector.

6. Statutory regulations of representativeness

6.1. In the case of the trade unions, do statutory regulations exist which establish criteria of representativeness which a trade union must meet, so as to be entitled to conclude collective agreements? If yes, please briefly illustrate these rules and list the organisations which meet them.

In Malta single-employer bargaining is practised. Employees voluntarily join a trade union and once a union has the membership of 50% plus one of the employees working in that company (or 50% plus one of the employees in a particular job category in that company), the union informs the management and the Director of Employment and Industrial Relations of its intentions to start practising collective bargaining within that company.

Once the trade union is recognised by company management as the sole collective bargaining agent, the union is in a position to negotiate on behalf of the employees covered by any eventual collective agreement. Apart from negotiation, the union has the right to be consulted on all matters relating to employment relations. GWU, UHM and AAE meet such requirements in the sector under consideration.

6.2. In the case of the trade unions, do statutory regulations exist which establish criteria of representativeness which a trade union must meet, so as to be entitled to be consulted in matters of public policy and to participate in tripartite bodies? If yes, please briefly illustrate these rules and list the organisations which meet them.

No specific statutory regulations exist that mean unions are entitled to be consulted in matters of public policy, or to participate in tripartite bodies.

6.3. Are elections for a certain representational body (e.g. works councils) established as criteria for trade union representativeness? If yes, please report the most recent electoral outcome for the sector.

No

6.4. Same question for employer associations as 6.1.

n.a.

6.5. Same question for employer associations as 6.2.

n.a.

6.6. Are elections for a certain representational body established as criteria for the representativeness of employer associations? If yes, please report the most recent outcome for the sector.

n.a.

7. Commentary

The Employment and Industrial Relations Act (EIRA, 2002) does not deal with trade union recognition. However the practice in Malta is that once a trade union announces that it has obtained the membership of fifty percent plus one of the employees in a particular company or within particular categories, then this union will request the respective management’s recognition.

There have been a few cases where management did not want to grant industrial recognition to a particular trade union. In these cases the Director of Employment and Industrial Relations is normally involved to check the membership records. If as a result, the Department confirms that a particular union has obtained the required number of employees as members, but the management continues persisting on its position, the Director normally calls both parties for a meeting and very often the issue is resolved at this stage.

One clause common in collective agreements within this sector, stipulates that: “The company recognises the union as the sole bargaining agency in respect of and on behalf of the categories of its employees shown in Appendix ‘A’, provided that the company shall reserve the right to withdraw recognition immediately if the fully paid-up membership of the union falls below fifty per cent plus one of the number of confirmed employees registered on the books of the company and covered by this agreement.” This clause gives the management the right to withdraw trade union recognition once the union loses its majority. In reality, disputes relating to industrial recognition in the private sector rarely occur.

8. List of consulted organisations and individuals

Paul Bugeja, Section Secretary for the Metal and Construction Section of the GWU.

Andrew Mizzi, Section Secretary for the Technology, Electronics and Communication Section of the GWU.

Joe Sammut, Section Secretary for the Manufacturing and SME Section of the GWU

Rebecca Gatt & Manwel Debono, Centre for Labour Studies

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