Civil protection staff announce formation of new union

Twelve year struggle for recognition of their right to unionisation finally bears fruit for Civil Protection Department staff

The president of the Civil Protection Staff Association has announced the dissolution of the association, paving the way for the formation of a trade union for its members.

To applause from the assembled CPD staff at an extraordinary general meeting held this evening, the association’s president Emanuel Psaila hailed the move, which comes after a legal and bureaucratic wrangle spanning several years over the right of Civil Protection staff to form a trade union. The general meeting approved the statute for the new union, which had been formulated after discussions with the association’s lawyer Ian Spiteri Bailey.

In his speech, Psaila expressed satisfaction at the Association’s past achievements, naming the confirmation of their entitlement to a full pension after 25 years of service and the Home Welfare Fund which the association had set up for insurance cover, as examples.

He reassured new recruits, also present for the announcement, that they need not worry about their conditions of work, telling them “your bed is made” and encouraged CPD staff to join the union. Psaila promised to strive for improved working conditions for its members, such as shift allowances and other allowances arising from the dangerous nature of their work. 

In comments to MaltaToday, John Azzopardi, secretary of the new association, explained that the rationale behind the unionisation of disciplined bodies was that they would enjoy recognition by the Department of Industrial and Employment Relations and could negotiate and discuss any issues which may arise in future. 

CPD personnel, whether unionised or not, do not have a right to take strike action.

The CPSA had been advocating for the right of CPD personnel to join a union since 2003, when it presented a memorandum on the issue to the authorities. The introduction of a law allowing members of disciplined forces to join trade unions in 2013 had paved the way for the conversion of the CPSA into the new union. The CPSA’s members had previously voted overwhelmingly in favour of becoming a trade union, the move being backed by 91.7% of its members.