During the last few weeks a considerable number of workers with the Centrecom company, which is one of the largest Outsourcing Service Providers in Malta, have joined the General Workers’ Union. They did this because of problems and indifferences that they feel they are facing on a daily basis.
These groups of workers, members of the GWU, were given the task of working in the regional centers offered by sserviz.gov and in the Centrecom Head Office. Some of these workers who work together with civil servants are asking to be respected and given what they deserve, and to be valued in the same way as civil servants. They are therefore asking for the support of the General Workers’ Union to meet their demands as soon as the union is able to negotiate on their behalf as well as protect them.
The Torch spoke to some workers about these alleged deficiencies and indifferences that they are feeling and seeing that they wish to be resolved. This happens when they are given different instructions from those who follow them and this results in them incurring fines because they have not followed the SOP’S (Standard Operating Procedures) issued by their company.
They also mentioned how in cases where they make genuine mistakes, such as spelling mistakes in emails, and their performance bonus is being reduced even by €50. This is in addition to the fact that they have a lower salary than their colleagues who work desk to desk with them. This leads to them feeling unmotivated and angry. This is something that the GWU has been stressing that it is not fair that workers who do the same job, at the same bank, are paid different wages. They have been asking for a salary increase that reflects the responsibility they have for years but this has never been done.
The Centrecom company, because it only provides the service, will not be able to meet certain requests of the workers, such as in cases where they ask for changes or repairs to be made to chairs, tables, etc. She will only be able to forward their request to the authorities, which are unfortunately falling on deaf ears. They are sorry to see in front of them the civil servants being served for the requests they have while their requests are never accepted. This even goes against health and safety regulations.
Even from a security point of view, these workers are asking that the people who are sent as securities to these regional centers, be prepared for any inconvenience that arises, as it often happens. These workers mentioned how they often meet customers who raise their voices, others stutter, and are even aggressive towards them. There was a case where a client came in with a weapon. It is not acceptable that these workers are at risk of health and safety. There were cases where they had to wake up to silence certain clients, or calm them down, instead of the people who are in charge of working as securities.
They also mentioned the fact that the law is being broken in the case of the CCTV cameras that are installed in the regional centers. As while these were installed for their safety, however the management is using them for other purposes.
They also talked about the case of the SOP’s that had not been updated since 2019. This is when the agents are assessed on their work by following these SOP’s, and in case they make a mistake they will receive what is called an ‘error’ and €50 will be deducted from the performance bonus. However, while the ‘errors’ continued to be issued, the company failed to make updates on these SOP’s. It was precisely on the part of a particular agent who took the initiative and decided to send an email and tag everyone to update the SOP’s, which made the necessary updates.
These workers have been organized with the Professionals, Finances and Services Section because of the high and professional level they provide. A considerable amount of these worker members approached the Secretary of the Professionals, Finances and Services Section of the General Workers’ Union, Riccarda Darmanin and requested that the Section bring forward and negotiate these demands with the company to reach an agreement.
During all this the Section made a request to be officially recognized on behalf of the workers of the regional centers but the company is doing everything to not recognize the union and is doing many maneuvers of moving workers.
The Secretary of the Section Riccarda Darmanin said that as a section she felt the need to offer her support after hearing the requests of the members. In fact, the first meeting with the Centrecom management was already held where they discussed certain problems that they had spoken to her about.
“We are doing our best to help resolve these particular situations. While I thank the members for the support, I hope they will work together to improve their positions,” repeated the Secretary of the Section Riccarda Darmanin.
“We are not grumbling about our work. We do our work well and from our heart. But we are asking that the GWU represent us and negotiate on our behalf with the management so that we are given what we deserve!” said the workers.