News | Wednesday, 25 March 2009

Government rejects casino’s request to go on four-day week

Charlot Zahra

The Finance Ministry has refused Dragonara Casino’s request to adopt a four-day week despite the company’s wishes to do so, Business Today has learnt.
Asked by Business Today whether the Government was going to offer an investment package to Dragonara Casino in view of its announcement, a ministry spokesperson said: “Government has refused that the company adopts a four-day week.
“The company had not advised the Director of Labour and its situation is not related to the international economic crisis,” the Ministry’s spokesperson told this newspaper.
He added that the Government established “immediate communication” with the company and “concluded that its decision to revert to a four-day week was not acceptable.
“In actual fact, Government is informed that this company is not working on a four day week but rather it has asked a number of employees to use their accumulated leave; thus they are still working on a five-day week,” he said. “Consequently, at the stage, Government will not take any further action on the issue.
The government has not been in contact with the casino, although we are informed that MIMCOL Chairman Ivan Falzon called the Dragonara Chairman to express the Minister’s dissatisfaction regarding the decision to go on a four-day week.
The Dragonara Chairman informed Falzon that “although the workforce was only working four days, the company was also paying one day’s leave from its accumulated entitlement, thus enabling staff to receive a full basic salary anyway,” a spokesperson for the casino told this newspaper.
The company explained that it had placed the workforce on a schedule of four-days-on, one-day-off “after consultation with the GWU and the Department of Labour.
“There has been no communication between the ministry and the Dragonara management so there was no input from the government in our decision making process,” a Dragonara Casino spokesperson told Business Today.
The management, prior to introducing these cost-cutting measures, contacted their legal advisor, the GWU, the Labour Office, and the company’s Board of Directors.
“The situation is of course partly related to the economic crisis but as the company has already stated it is primarily related to the indiscriminate proliferation of illegal slot machines throughout the island which are identical machines to those being used in all the casinos in Malta,” the company’s spokesperson told Business Today.

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25 March 2009

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