Strike Out

Ceci n’est pas le Chateau d’If

A pause from the holidaying and general revelry to report that the Federation of Transport have called off the strike and that the abnormal bus service will resume from tomorrow. It seems that the transporters have agreed to talk with the government on the future of public transport liberalisation. It remains to be seen what kind of liberalisation we will see considering that the original show of brute force was countered with offers to “buy” out the bullies – some 60,000 euros worth of buying out. As they say… cuius testiculos habet, habeat cardeam et cerebellum. And they are not referring to guts.

Meanwhile, a little more taking of the urinary sample insofar as the Chateau d’If is concerned… a nice photo from yesterday’s trip to Comino (taken from Cominotto)

7 responses to “Strike Out

  1. It remains to be seen what kind of liberalisation we will see considering that the original show of brute force was countered with offers to “buy” out the bullies – some 60,000 euros worth of buying out.

    Link, man, link. You are probably referring to the €60K lost by the ATP in subsidy. The matter will go into arbitration — hardly a case of “buying off”.

  2. Danny Attard

    1. Dr Gatt said the Malta Hearses Association would be given funding of €230,000 which was calculated on the basis of possible loss of earnings and marketing to keep their market position. (Yesterday)

    2.Transport Minister Austin Gatt has written to Public Transport Association president Victor Spiteri to confirm in writing an agreement they reached verbally two months ago on how to move forward with regard to an EU directive on the bus service. He also revealed that just last week, the Transport Authority (ADT) recommended an increase of €81,550 per month in the subsidy to the bus service to cover the increase in fuel prices. (last Tuesday)

  3. Yep. Thanks Danny. Seems that I was wrong… about the sum (which I had gleaned from the Wednesday edition of Maltatoday – article Cash for Hearses). Here’s today’s Indy:

    “A government statement issued just after 1.30am yesterday said that the association was stopping the strike action and was immediately resigning from the Federation of Public Transport, which it had joined after the invitation of chairman Victor Spiteri.

    The agreement between the government and the association – which was signed late on Wednesday evening – also stipulates that the government will be paying e230,000 to the association to prepare itself for the liberalisation of the hearses market.

    Five new licences were issued on Wednesday, after the court turned down an application for a prohibitory injunction against the issuing of new licences.”

    That, to me, is a “buyout”.

  4. I did consider it strange that the locus of a strike action would not be the last to leave, but then again with about a dozen families involved a buyout is highly plausible.

    I suspect that the hearse owners will be very unpopular with the rest of the tranport industry for a while and that the others joined in out of fear of similar liberalization of their respective markets.

    Either way, its over for now and the drivers have been made accountable for their actions. Sadly the same cannot be said of the political class.

  5. Danny Attard

    I am not disturbed so much by the buyout per se. Government drove off the main road onto ix-xaghri (garique) and had to find its way back onto the main road soonest, because the damage that was being done was out of proportion to eventual benefits.

    The feeling that Government lacks a plan that concerns me most.

    Saying that a reformed transport system will include a network of buses, trams, ferries etc is excellent vision. Saying that the reform will have the user as a focus rather than the operator is ‘baci perugina’ perfection.

    But this will get us nowhere unless it leads to a plan with its million bolts in place. In very outline terms:

    1. Objective – must work to take at least 30% of cars off the road.
    2. Network must maximize actual and projected business initiative (Going into Bugibba for dinner one Saturday, I could not find a parking space for my life and had to park my car in St. Paul’s Bay. Yet most Bugibba venues were only half full(empty).
    3. Must identify current and potential needs
    4. Identify price sensitivity
    5. Map out a network of busses, taxis, mini-vans, coaches, trams, boats that will provide the service. Draw out a complete list of schedules (massive task but this is the basis on all action moving forward)
    6. Detail cost to provide such service
    7. Identify demand (conduct sensitivity), Identify profitable schedules and loss-making schedules
    8. Identify Government investment needed to compliment a holistic transport system. We were very eager to argue against the transport workers but never complained at the lack of Government investment, say at the Valletta or Bugibba Bus terminus.

    Government must carry out this exercise soonest (hopefully it is done) and must keep it updated.

    Only then can Government decide if a reform is to be based on:

    SMEs
    Nationalisation
    Open to tender
    Combination

    Government mumblings get a bit confused. (hopefully they are not)

    We are informed that EU turned down Government’s SME option because it involved the Transport Association and was seen to be protecting the status quo. I feel that this option is still available if bus owners will compete for specific routes. I find this to be the best all-round option.

    I can not see this Government even mentioning the word nationalization.

    The option that remains is the tender option (tipo drydocks). It is so much in line with this Government’s culture that it has taken on the texture of abdication tinged with a possible dose of inferiority complex.

    This will leave the present army of bus drivers high and dry and will provide the basis for significant unrest.

    Typical of current culture, Government would probably seek to integrate the bus community within the business-plan of the new operator.

    This is getting too long and boring so will end with the following:

    Government must share its plans with all stakeholders, gain their acceptance and eventually make stakeholders own the plan. Trying to pussy-foot reform will only cause significant uproar (silent or otherwise). This also applies to drydocks.

    Having said this, Government would also have to have implementation plans in the face of hardened opposition to a final option, yet these plans will only be set in motion when the reform process interaction had reached a very mature stage. The fuse between interaction and unilateral implementation has to be very very long.

    So no time to dilly dally. Tell me Government, in your plans, how will I be able to travel from Marsascala to Bugibba on a Monday at 11.30pm in February?

    If you can not tell me, you are then about six months behind schedule.

  6. Jacques said: “cuius testiculos habet, habeat cardeam et cerebellum. ”

    Please, it is “cuius testiculos habes” not “cuius testiculos habet”. “YOU have by the testicles”, the second person not “he/she/it has by the testicles”.

    We are talking about a general, observable human tendency here, not a specific case of a person or thing who has something by the testicles.

    Still, as they say “errare humanum est perseverare diabolicum” so just don`t let it happen again.

    Magister dixit.

  7. I’m not too sure about the testicles bit. Could it not be an impersonal statement “Whose testicles one has, one has his heart and mind”?
    ie 3rd person.

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