The Malta Employers’ Association held a special reception on 22nd February to mark the airing of the 250th episode in its popular weekly MEA TV programme as well as the 10th Anniversary since it first started producing the series. The event was symbolically held in the Ballroom of the Phoenicia Hotel where the first programmes were recorded.
Every individual participant throughout the 250 programmes – over 400 in all – was invited to the event which was addressed by the Parliamentary Secretary for Social Dialogue, Hon Andy Ellul (speech) and the Opposition Spokesperson Hon Claudette Buttigieg (speech).
Every individual participant throughout the 250 programmes – over 400 in all – was invited to the event which was addressed by the Parliamentary Secretary for Social Dialogue, Hon Andy Ellul and the Opposition Spokesperson Hon Claudette Buttigieg. Both guest speakers commended the MEA for their consistently strong, objective and well-researched contribution to the process of social dialogue in Malta, particularly through the participation of Director General, Joseph Farrugia.
The event also included brief interventions by the four TV personalities that presented the programme over the course of its history, namely Claire Agius, Amy Camilleri Zahra, Cynthia Zerafa and Edward Bonello who shared personal anecdotes about their contributions to the programme.
In her brief address, MEA President Ms Joanne Bondin said that the long list of subjects tackled over the course of the Series history is a reflection of Malta’s recent socio-economic history. In fact, the subjects discussed during MEA TV programmes is testament to the Islands’ rapid economic development. She reflected on the fact that at the time when MEA first embarked on this TV journey, it did not imagine it would be celebrating a milestone, 10 years down the line, which underlined the consistent relevance of the programme content to the business and general public.
Ms Bondin said that the success of the Series mirrored consistency and alignment with the Association’s Values and Principles to serve as a relevant, objective and credible Communicator of the rights and obligations pertaining to stakeholders all around.
The MEA President said that throughout the past 10 years, the TV Programme served to complement the MEA’s efforts in the field of social dialogue, particularly its active participation on MCESD and other national consultative fora.
Ms Bondin paid tribute to all the contributors of the programme and its success, the presenters, producers, technical people and MEA staff. She said that over the years, the programme gave excellent exposure to the Association by establishing a link between employers and the general public. The latter grew to better understand the business perspectives on sensitive socio-economic matters which affect companies’ competitiveness and the smooth of the functioning labour market. She thanked all stakeholders representatives for their contribution to the programme’s success and for discussing sensitive and controversial subjects in a respectful and constructive manner.
The MEA President also conveyed a special thanks to the numerous companies that supported the Programme along the years through their advertising and contributions. She expressed appreciation to management of Public Broadcasting Services for giving the MEA the unique opportunity to host this programme on Malta’s National TV Stations and naturally to the tens of thousands of televiewers who continuously gave the Association, their support and positive feedback.
On his part, Mr Joseph Farrugia said that the intention behind the MEA TV project was in line with the vision of the Association’s founder Mr Anthony Miceli-Farrugia. He shared a personal memoir with the gathering when he recounted that Mr Miceli-Farrugia has expressed a specific desire for the MEA to reach out with the public at large to explain the importance of alignment between employer and employee in the interest of national competitiveness.
Mr Farrugia explained that in line with the direction expressed by the MEA founder, he undertook to deliver a TV programme appealing to a wide audience, which seeks to discuss sensitive matters amongst stakeholders in a non-confrontational manner and which consistently seeks to explain often complicated issues in simple language to ensure it can be easily followed and understood even by those with limited knowledge on such issues.
The Association’s Director General paid tribute to all involved in the hard work that goes behind the planning, production and airing of each programme – a task, he said that goes beyond the Association’s main function of representing and supporting the management of member companies in matters pertaining to employment and industrial relations. Here he singled out the programmes coordinator Anton Vella and all MEA staff members, the various production teams and technical crews as well as all 400 participants and over. He said that the success of the project was due to these people’s professionalism, dedication and enthusiasm.
Mr Joseph Farrugia reminded the gathering of the international recognition enjoyed by the MEA TV Programme. In 2015 and 2017, he said, MEA won the National Enterprise Support Award, and as a result, it was eligible to participate in the European Enterprise Promotion Awards in both years. The Association, so far, remains the only organisation in the EU to have twice been ranked among the shortlist of top four projects. The projects were both based on the TV Programme as a catalyst for social dialogue.
Mr Farrugia said that the TV programme’s success galvanised him and the team to continue the project. He said he was equally determined to continue to actively serve the Association in the years to come for the MEA to carry on serving its members with enthusiasm and vigour.