Fortina / TACA Workers - Five Months Without Pay |  Moviment Graffitti Malta.
15/06/2020

Fortina / TACA Workers - Five Months Without Pay

Last Saturday, activists from Moviment Graffitti met with the workers who had been working on the Fortina project in Sliema. These workers have not been paid for their work for a number of months, some of them even for five months.


This is a situation of passing the buck: Fortina is claiming that the workers have not been paid by TACA, the Turkish company, and TACA is saying that they have not been paid by another contractor. In the meantime, these eighty workers – who were brought directly from Turkey to work on the project – ended up without work and without pay. It is not yet known what will happen now, and the workers have not been informed of the next steps.


We are following the case closely and we are going to do our best, as much as possible, to help where needed. However, apart from the need for a solution to be found for this injustice, there are a number of questions which need to be answered:

  • How was an employment license issued for these workers if the authorities were not certain that labour laws could be enforced with regards to a company – TACA – which is based in Turkey?
  • Why have there not been any inspections and assessments during all these months to ensure that the workers were not being exploited? The contract between Fortina and TACA for this construction work was controversial from its very beginning in 2019, with serious doubts on whether the rights of the workers were going to be respected. In spite of this, the workers told us that only one inspection was carried out, a month ago, and only after a report was lodged by the same workers about the fact that they had remained without pay.


This is a very serious case which has created a very ugly precedent. We are facing a situation where the rights and conditions of ALL workers are threatened. When a permit is issued, allowing workers to be brought from abroad, but then the authorities are unable to enforce the rights in employment law, this leads to the erosion of the rights and conditions of all workers in Malta.


It is completely unacceptable to throw away the rights that workers have achieved with so much sacrifice and after so many fights in order to serve the interests of big business. We need an economy based on social justice and solidarity, not on greed and exploitation.


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Ħaddiema tal-Fortina / TACA - Ħames Xhur Bla Ħlas


Is-Sibt li għadda, attivisti tal-Moviment Graffitti ltaqgħu mal-ħaddiema li kienu qed jaħdmu fuq il-proġett tal-Fortina f’tas-Sliema. Dawn ilhom ma jitħallsu ta’ xogħolhom għal xhur sħaħ; uħud minnhom saħansitra għal ħames xhur.


Din hija sitwazzjoni fejn il-ħmar qed iwaħħal f’denbu: il-Fortina tgħid li l-ħaddiema ma tħallsux mill-kumpanija Torka TACA, u TACA tgħid li l-ħaddiema ma tħallsux minn kuntrattur ieħor. Sadanittant, dawn it-tmenin ħaddiem - li nġiebu direttament mit-Turkija sabiex jaħdmu fuq il-proġett - spiċċaw bla xogħol u bla ħlas. Mhux magħruf x’ser jiġri issa, u l-ħaddiema ma ġewx infurmati dwar il-passi li jmiss.


Qed insegwu l-każ mill-qrib u ser nippruvaw, sa fejn huwa possibbli, nagħtu l-għajnuna li hemm bżonn. Iżda, barra l-ħtiega li tinstab soluzzjoni għal din l-inġustizzja, iqumu wkoll ħafna mistoqsijiet:

  • Kif inħarġet liċenzja ta’ impjieg għal dawn il-ħaddiema jekk l-awtoritajiet ma kinux ċerti li jistgħu jinfurzaw il-liġi tax-xogħol fir-rigward ta’ kumpanija – TACA – li hija bbażata t-Turkija?
  • Għala tul dawn ix-xhur kollha ma kienx hemm spezzjonijiet u assessjar biex jiġi żgurat li l-ħaddiema ma kinux sfruttati? Il-kuntratt bejn il-Fortina u t-TACA għal dan ix-xogħol ta’ kostruzzjoni kien wieħed kontroversjali ħafna sa mill-bidu nett tiegħu fl-2019, b’dubji kbar dwar kemm id-drittijiet tal-ħaddiema kienu ser jiġu mħarsa. Minkejja dan, il-ħaddiema qalulna li l-unika spezzjoni li saret kienet xahar ilu, wara li għamlu rapport huma stess dwar il-fatt li kienu ilhom ma jitħallsu xhur sħaħ.


Dan huwa każ serju ħafna u joħloq preċedent ikrah. Quddiemna għandna sitwazzjoni fejn id-drittijiet u l-kundizzjonijiet tal-ħaddiema KOLLHA huma mhedda. Meta jingħata permess biex jinġiebu ħaddiema minn barra, imma imbagħad l-awtoritajiet ma jkunux jistgħu jinfurzaw id-drittjiet li hemm fil-liġi tax-xogħol, dan iwassal biex jitnaqqru d-drittijiet u l-kundizzjonijiet tal-ħaddiema kollha f’Malta.


Huwa kompletament inaċċettabli li nitfgħu fiż-żibel id-drittijiet li l-ħaddiema kisbu wara tant sagrifiċċji u ġlidiet sabiex jiġu aġevolati ċertu negozji kbar. Neħtieġu ekonomija mibnija fuq il-ġustizzja u s-solidarjetà, mhux fuq ir-regħba u l-isfruttament.