A collective agreement signed between the Lands Authority and the General Workers Union will benefit around 70 authority employees, who occupy the roles of managers and professionals. Through this agreement, a number of employees will benefit from an increase in their remuneration. The signing was presided by the Minister for the Economy and Industry Silvio Schembri, and the Chief Executive of the Lands Authority, Robert Noel Vella.
Minister Schembri explained how these employees will immediately benefit from arrears dating from 2019 to the present time, a total which amounts to €335,000.
He added that in order to ensure stability, this collective agreement will cover from 2019 to 2024. In concrete terms, he described how when considering this investment on a six-year basis, the cumulative investment in the salaries of these Lands Authority workers, between those in the grade of professionals and those in management roles, will have exceeded €1,300,000.
The Minister stressed that the aim of the collective agreement is not only of a financial nature, but also seeks to provide a clear guide on working conditions, with the aim of serving as aspiration for the employees. This in order to maximize performance on the job, promote career progression and external recruitment, while safeguarding current employees.
He noted that through the signing of this agreement, all Lands Authority employees, which amount to about 230 people, are now covered by a collective agreement. He recalled how in 2020, the Lands Authority had entered into force a collective agreement which had affected 140 Authority employees, together with other employees who had been recruited after the signing of the same collective agreement, an agreement which financially compensated all those grades considered as overtime grades.
“This is truly a Government which invests in its workers. The Authority is striving to provide its employees with appropriate compensation for their work. Together we are aiming for workers to advance in their personal careers. In fact, the agreement is only part of a series of positive initiatives, linked to improvements in working conditions. The human resources department is also allowing teleworking arrangements, flexible hours and even health policies,” said Minister Schembri.
Investment is also being made in the skills and capabilities of the workforce. Here Minister Schembri announced that the Authority is in discussions to oversee that a new programme of study is developed, where the current employees together with the new recruits will have the possibility to advance in their studies and obtain a diploma by participating in programs launched especially for them. These programmes deal with legal, technical and land management aspects.
Minister Schembri asserted how this Government considers workers as the backbone of a strong economy and ensures that they are at the heart of all its decisions by continuously prioritising their wellbeing. He recalled how in the 2022 budget several measures to this end were introduced, such as the tax reduction for part-timers, a reduction in overtime tax, an overtime tax of 15% on the first €10,000 and €150 a year in in-work benefit for 40,000 workers who work unusual hours.
The Chief Executive, Robert Noel Vella, said that the Authority considers its staff to be the backbone of the service it offers. Therefore, through this collective agreement it is recognizing and rewarding effort and efficiency. He said that with this same agreement, due importance is also given individually to these workers who do such valuable work when it comes to the administration of the land and Government’s properties. He said he would continue to prioritize the improvement of the salary structures, benefits and working conditions of all employees.