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Meeting for MEA members on the Employment of Persons with Disability

Meetings 10/12/2015 - 10/12/2015

A meeting was convened for MEA members on the 10th December to discuss the latest developments about the employment of persons with disability. Mr. Arthur Muscat, MEA president, and Mr. Joseph Farrugia, Director General addressed a turnout which was much higher than anticipated. Due to the short notice for the meeting, it was explained that it was impossible to seek an alternative location to accommodate many others who requested to be present.

During this meeting, Mr. Muscat stressed the fact that MEA is not contesting the principle of employment of persons with disability and encouraged employers to seek ways in which more disabled persons can be integrated in the labour force. He added that the measures which were announced during the budget speech in November were never discussed with the social partners, and consequently there are a number of difficulties and inconsistencies in their implementation which could have been addressed had government decided to adopt a consultative approach.

Mr. Farrugia  delivered a presentation which highlighted the salient points of the position paper which was prepared and distributed by MEA in January 2015, together with the bones of contention which the Association currently has with the authorities about the manner in which employers are being treated. This is what has led MEA to file a judicial protest, and why it is also contemplating further legal actions against the Employment and Training Corporation in the near future.

During this session, many employer representatives who were present shared their own experiences of the manner in which the regulations were being implemented. They confirmed that they had no way to prove or disprove ETC’s claims that they were not in line with the legislation owing to an arbitrary interpretation of the data protection act. Others claimed that they had employed registered disabled persons but were still fined because the persons employed opted to deregister themselves a few months after their employment, which is within their rights. Many reported that they were subjected to the fine even though they had demonstrated their willingness to employ disabled persons but could not because there are no suitable persons available. In fact, some of the persons who are on the register made it clear to their prospective employers that they are not interested in being employed. Many companies stated that they were fined even though they do employ persons with a disability as it appeared that the ETC is not recognising persons who are on the KNPD or the social security register. Employers were finding ETC’s attitude offensive and goes against the interests of those persons who the ETC is intended to help.

At the end of the session, Mr. Muscat reiterated his support for MEA’s members and assured everybody that, whilst taking some of the suggestions that were made on board, the Association will be keeping them involved and informed of any actions that the Association will be taking in the near future.

Venue: MEA's Training Centre, Valletta
Contact: Dorianne Azzopardi Cilia
Email: [email protected]