Senior manager files injunction against Transport Authority, claiming 'unjustified termination'

He was engaged as an Enforcement Manager but a change in nomenclature left him in limbo

A senior manager at the Malta Transport Authority has filed for a warrant of prohibitory injunction against the Malta Transport Authority, asking the First Hall of the Civil Court to prohibit the Authority from terminating his employment in what he described as an unjust termination.

Emmanuel Zammit had been engaged as an Enforcement Manager on an indefinite contract, but recently the senior management position had changed nomenclature. He claims that he was left in limbo after the new position was excluded from the new operating structure.

In the application filed earlier this week, he explains that he had been given a draft contract as a Senior Manager but this was never finalised or concluded. Despite this, he continued to work as normal, he says.

Subsequently, there was an attempt to unilaterally change his contract of employment by the Authority, but Zammit had resisted this, refusing to change his conditions of work. This, he says, led to three disciplinary actions which were “Nothing but an attempt to beget a reason to terminate his employment on disciplinary grounds.”

Describing the disciplinary actions as mise en scene and pointing out that none of the boards actually found him guilty of the charges against him.

On 8 July he received a notice informing him that he was being transferred to the Integrated Transport Strategy Directorate, despite his indefinite contract stipulating that “the employee shall report to the Chief Officer – Enforcement Directorate.” The notice also warned Zammit that the company would take action against him if he failed to comply, effective 14 July.

On 21 July, he was notified by means of a letter that his employment was being terminated as of August 1.

Zammit’s lawyers, Natalino Caruana de Brincat and Albert Zerafa, argued that the Authority had only one option after the plaintiff failed to turn up at the Integrated Transport Strategy Directorate and that this was disciplinary action.

They argued that if the authority were to be allowed to continue with Zammit’s termination, he would suffer irreparable prejudice as his position was unique and “the authority’s plan was that this [position] be permanently eliminated.” This would deprive him of the remedy of being reinstated, as required by law in case the dismissal is ruled unfair.

Pointing out that the man had not even been given the opportunity to defend himself or reply to the 8 July letter, the lawyers called upon the court to issue the injunction and stop the authority from continuing with this course of action.