The Secretary General of the workers’ union UHM, Josef Vella, is insisting that he has no conflict of interest when questioned by The Shift on his appointment as a director of the government-owned Malta Air Travel Company Ltd.
Vella has occupied the role for the last 12 months, appointed by Finance Minister Clyde Caruana while negotiating with the finance ministry and others on behalf of members of the union – Malta’s second largest.
Caruana appointed Vella as a director of Malta Air Travel, better known as Malta MedAir, in February 2022.
His colleagues on the company’s board include Chairman Mark Sammut – the PBS boss who is taking home two payments for fulfilling the same role at the state broadcaster, former Labour MP Marlene Mizzi and David Camilleri – a partner at former minister Jose’ Herrera’s law firm, Jose’ A. Herrera and Associates.
When contacted, Vella confirmed that he was on the board in his personal capacity and not on the union’s behalf. He said he had sought his UHM colleagues’ endorsement before accepting.
“I have no serious conflict of interest in my roles,” Vella said when contacted. “As UHM CEO, I have always taken all necessary actions, whether legal, industrial, or public, against the government.”
He insisted that he did this irrespective of which political party was in government.
“Neither did I shy away from publicly criticising the government nor from addressing the public on multiple occasions, whether in national protests and irrespective of who the organisers were. In fact, I am the only social partner to have addressed national protests,” he added.
One senior official pointed out that you cannot run with the hare and hunt with the hounds, especially as a trade union leader.
“Vella’s acceptance of a remunerated post from the government at a company that has absolutely nothing to do with the union does not look good,” the official said.
Vella now joins General Workers’ Union President Victor Carachi, who has been earning tens of thousands of euros from the government retainers since Labour’s return to power in 2013.
A few weeks ago, Air Malta employees expressed frustration over how they felt betrayed by the GWU for taking the government’s side in the ongoing manoeuvres to close the national airline down by the year’s end.
Another Pig being paid from our taxes.
Mr. Josef Vella , this gift was given to you by this corrupt government, specifically to act like the proverbial three monkeys whilst in this post.
Money is a powerful weapon to subdue any opposition, And Joseph Vella has fallen into Boby’s trap. Pigging has no limits.
Josef Vella kif tista’ tiddefendi l haddiem u tiekol mal mejda u mill istess platt ma min qed jithanzer.
One senior official pointed out that you cannot run with the hare and hunt with the hounds, especially as a trade union leader
That the UHM sees nothing wrong with this is a gauge of how low standards have sunk in Malta!
Has the union never heard of the word P E R C E P T I ON?
Ghalhekk certi manuvri fil. UHM?
Perceptions are often illusory
Quite perplexing, to say the least. Maybe not suspicious at all?
It’s a shame.
The Don needs consiglieri in the right positions to maintain overwhelming support in this one party dystopian state.
This is labours tactic they buy everyone sad to say that so many people can be bought. They also use this to silence people!
If other people do then he should be removed …
Everybody has a price in Malta.
You never spoke a truer word. Anyone under 40 with potential who stays in this failed state is a lunatic.
The Secretary General of UHM has to decide either, or. There are no buts. What is wrong for the GWU is also wrong for UHM.
Mhux ta b’xejn kont offrejtli job fantasma
Meta kont gejt inkellmek l’ istitut kattoliku
U kont wedtni li la titlesta IL construction
IL Floriana hejja ahdem hemm security
This is incredible news! I never thought of such a treason and a strong hit under the belt. Money talks, and how. Mela dan beda jitħanżer ukoll, fi kliem fqir, mixtri. Beda jiekol minn idejn l-aktar Gvern korrott u ħalliel li qatt rat l-istorja. Ara vera ma nafx se naqbad nghid iżjed. Dan ma jista qatt jiddefendi l-interessi tal-ħaddiema b’serenita għax issa mċappas. Min jista ma jibqax parti mill UHM għandu jagħmel dan minnufih.
guda iddradixxa lil kristu ghal flus
That’s how you govern in Malta. Buy the unions too and do whatever you want. L-aqwa li Malta taghna wkoll
IS THIS THE PRICE OF THE ILLUSION OF INDUSTRIAL PEACE!!!
Grazzi mulej. Xtrajna iehor. Qawwi u shih.
Qawwi zgur, shih ma nafx.
There is one way out of this. The UHM calls for an election among its members for a new general secretary. The present one cannot be a candidate.
It is bad enough being a government employee subject to promotion blockages and frame up risks unless the individual behaves .
I never expected this person to stoop so low. He should have resigned from the UHM . Not asked for the benediction of his UHM colleagues. It only reflects badly on his colleagues , for all we care are on the take, directly or indirectly. By the way , what does Malta Air Travel, do? Here is the answer.
The National Audit Office has found a financial mess at Malta Air Travel, the company set up by disgraced former minister Konrad Mizzi to hold Air Malta’s most profitable landing rights as part of its faltering restructuring process.
Nothing less than employment agency for Konrad faithful
No notion of conflict of interest and revolving doors in Malta. Total insult to people who follow the rules strictly and even take on jobs abroad to avoid breaking these ethical values.
Same shit different colour.
Omg, no conflict of interest! Few if any in Malta understand this phrase.
He sees no serious conflict of interest 🤑? This is what greed does when your head is in more than 1 trough, ask Rosie?
I have 2 things to contribute:
1. Conflict of “Interest” isn’t disproved simply because one criticises his employer. Vella should be intelligent enough to know this.
His “interest” is hereby divided; “self-interest” and his personal income on the one hand and his negotiating/militant role vis-à-vis the hand that feeds him, in this case the government, on the other hand.
2. Trade Union employees are themselves members of the trade union that employs them. When this anomaly was questioned, ie why would employees need their employer’s help (as a trade union) to secure their rights in case the employer happens to be in default, the reaction was a very negative one. So I can understand how a trade union boss can’t understand the meaning of conflict of interest.
Internal back stabbing from inside the union itself