Updated | GRTU claims fuel supplier is threatening petrol station owners not to strike

The Malta Chamber of SMEs (GRTU) has claimed it received reports from various petrol pump owners across Malta saying they are being coerced into not moving forward with industrial action

Updated at 8:50pm with Enemed statement

Various petrol pump owners across the island who joined the Enemed franchising reported to have been contacted by Enemed officials asking whether they will be striking and that repercussions will ensue if they do.

This is what the Malta Chamber of SMEs (GRTU) has claimed, condemning this behaviour from a company that is supposed to be independent.

Enemed is a fuel distributor and supplier in Malta, supplying a wide array of fuels including petrol, diesel, kerosene and jet fuel.

GRTU threatened industrial action at the start of last week when meetings with the Minister for Energy and Water Management Joe Mizzi proved futile over €21 million funds needed to upgrade over 80 petrol stations across Malta.

GRTU said that any contact from Enemed will not succeed in preventing petrol stations from safeguarding their interests.

"GRTU will be taking all the necessary measures to protect its members," a spokesperson said.

Earlier today, petrol stations around the island reported a big surge in the number of motorists wanting to put fuel in their cars, following the news that they would not be able to fill their tank up after 6pm for the coming days.

Enemed categorically deny GRTU claims

Enemed Chairman Kevin Chircop spoke to MaltaToday saying that the company categorically denies that threats were made to petrol pump owners.

"We were calling fuel stations in view of our service to the clients. The franchise agreement stipulates a contractual obligation for these stations to provide a service 24/7. We even offered our support if they need it. If that is interpreted as a threat, then I don't know," Chircop said.

Chircop explained that threatening one's own clients does not make sense in a business relationship and that claims that the petrol station owners who are supplied by Enemed fuel were threatened are nonsense.

"We do not want to be dragged into this. All we're after is to continue providing an excellent service," Chircop said, adding that GRTU was implicating the fuel supplier for an ulterior motive.

"The company doesn't see why consumers should be penalised in a dispute that Enemed has nothing to do with," Chircop said.