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The GWU… Building a better future

The General Workers’ Union will today open its two-day international conference,
which coincides with the 80th anniversary of its founding, with the theme Building a
Better Future.
Despite its 80th anniversary, the GWU has remained the largest workers’
organisation in our country. The principles it drafted at its founding still apply today
and only the process of how those principles are implemented has changed.
Although the union has been around for 80 years, it has always remained
competent, consistent and credible. The great achievements that the GWU has
made for Maltese society in various fields over the years of its existence have not
only strengthened it and shaped it into the largest workforce in our country, but have
also left a social, political and economic mark on the lives of Maltese people.
How great and decisive these achievements have been having been noted by
prominent leaders of our country and incorporated into their thinking and
understanding. The founding of the GWU was not only historic and significant, but
even the biggest event that took place in October 1943 at the height of the Second
World War.
GWU is not only the voice of workers in our country, but also on the international
stage. The GWU alone represents Maltese workers at the General Assembly of the
World Labour Organisation (ILO).
It should also be recalled that the GWU has not only been involved in negotiating
and improving the working conditions of workers but has also been a protagonist in
the progress and emancipation of Maltese in the social, political and economic
spheres of the country.
The achievements made by the union in the past are still relevant today. For
example, the GWU was the first union to put the principle of equality into practise
when it paid equal wages to its male and female employees. In this way, it served as
an example for other companies to also implement this principle.
In the political sphere, GWU fought hard towards the end of the 1940s to have the
right to vote extended and no longer reserved for wealthy men and property owners.
With this, and since then, universal suffrage was introduced, which led to women
also gaining this right and being able to participate in our country’s democracy.
Therefore, this conference was to be another historical episode in the glorious
history of GWU