GWU says football clubs should not see unions as a threat

The General Workers Union issued a statement, stressing that local clubs should not see unions as a threat or a cause for any warpath. The union was referring to comments which were reported in other sections of the media.

The Malta Football Players Association was set up earlier this year under the auspices of the General Workers Union and the MFPA secretary is appointed by the GWU general secretary.

“Such comments are very worrying in a day and age when social dialogue between employers, unions and regulators is promoted to ensure progress and stability of an enterprise, sector or area of society. Such an approach is completely opposite to such efforts.”

“At international level, FIFA and the Federation of Players – FIFPro have fostered social dialogue. In fact, when a players association or union joins FIFPro, FIFA extends its recognition. Furthermore most Players’ Associations in Europe are either a Union themselves or are associated to a local trade union. This is promoted also by FIFPro in its guidelines to new player groupings world-wide.”

“Unions are also part of European efforts of social dialogue whereby employers, unions and regulators come together under European Social Dialogue efforts that are funded by the European Union itself to promote dialogue in Sports. Most Sports Federations in Europe participate in this initiative.”

The GWU said “It is therefore an isolated case, unfortunately in Malta, that the MFA’s key player – Clubs – have such a view of unions in Sport. All sports persons that are economically active through sport are correct in seeking employment and industrial relations support from a Union. Such an approach adopted by local clubs is what actually generates deteriorated relationships between stakeholders.”

“Local football can benefit from the contribution of players supported by a Union. Labour regulations and conditions of employment can also be improved to ensure progress and compliance. Such progress and compliance should not cause fear but should instead be a challenge that can be addressed in good faith by all players.”

“The Union appeals to all stakeholders to be positive and avoid negative initiatives and confrontations,” concludes the statement.

While addressing the Council of the Malta Football Association on Tuesday, MFA Senior Vice-President Carmelo Bartolo said a delegation from the association which also included representatives of the standing committees of the four divisions and member associations, including the Gozo FA, had met representatives from the Malta Football Players Association. The latter was represented by Dr Anthony Galea, Konrad Sultana and George Mallia.

The Council could not accept the fact that the players’ association was part of another trade union. It was noted that the MFPA did not seek help from the MFA while preparing the statute despite the fact that the MFPA was about to seek affiliation with the MFA. In fact, a number of clauses in the MFPA statute are prima-facie not compatible with the MFA statute.

The MFPA said it sought the GWU’s help in order to be run on a professional basis.

However it was suggested that the players themselves, maybe with through former players, could run their association without being affiliated with another trade union.