GWU to sue Simon Busuttil for libel

General Workers’ Union boss Tony Zarb announces GWU to sue PN deputy leader Simon Busuttil for libel.

General Workers' Union secretary-general Tony Zarb has announced that the GWU will be filing a libel suit against PN deputy leader Simon Busuttil in the coming days.

The union boss said the GWU's libel action will be announced in response to statements made by Busuttil dealing with recently-publicised recordings of Zarb during a meeting with a private contractor which the Nationalist Party has so far refused to identify.

Zarb's announcement follows in the wake of similar libel action by the union against Prime Minister Lawrence Gonzi, PN President Marthese Portelli, and NET head of news Nathaniel Attard.

The case revolves around a covert recording that has so far been only released in bites and snippets and which suggests that Zarb was attempting to convince Dominic Gafà, of Mach Clean Services, to come to some sort of agreement with the GWU in return for the union's favourable influence with a new Labour government that would assist the contractor when it comes to tendering processes, as well as favourable media coverage within the union's newspapers.

On its part, the GWU says Gafà was employing cleaners on precarious contracts of employment while tendering for government contracts for the provision of cleaning services, and that Zarb was attempting to convince Gafà to allow his employees the right to unionise.

The full recording has so far kept been under wraps by Nationalist Party media.

According to Zarb, the recorded conversation represents a "premeditated act" on behalf of Gafà, who Zarb insists is the only person out of the other three present during the conversation who would have recorded him.

Zarb also insists that Gafa and his companies contribute significantly towards precarious employment in Malta, and that Zarb's willingness to meet with Gafa to find a solution that would end the company's precarious employment conditiions.

Zarb also insists that he has no regrets over what he said, insisting that he was acting and speaking solely to protect the interests of workers at risk of precarious employment.

The union boss also reiterates that the issue is purely a trade union issue and not a political issue. "The Labour Party is not involved in any way."

Zarb insisted that he is not contemplating resigning, adding that he still enjoys the full confidence of the GWU council and executive.