Voice of the Mediterranean falls silent

The Independent, Monday 5 January 2004

The Voice of the Mediterranean radio station has stopped transmissions with effect from today.

All the workers employed with the station have been handed their notice.

This was announced by the Union Haddiema Maghqudin in a statement.

It said the union's manufacturing and services section had been holding discussion with the radio station's management, the Foreign Ministry, the Director of Work and Industrial Relations and the Libyan embassy in Malta to try and save the jobs of the workers.

The radio is jointly owned by the governments of Malta and of Libya and has been operating in Malta for many years. These last few years the Libyan side did not continue with its financing. This meant that the radio station could not be viable any more and there was no other way except to close it down.

On 16 December, the union added, Libyan deputy secretary Ali Mohamed Attia on behalf of the Libyan government informed the director of the radio station that the Libyan government was ready to renew the contract between Malta and Libya for the coming ten years to 2011. He also added that the Libyan government was also ready to continue paying its financial contribution for the coming times. Despite this, the union added, the Libyan government has failed to honour its commitment.

The union section has informed the director of Labour and Industrial Relations to initiate meetings so that the sacked employees find alternative employment with government bodies.

The employees were yesterday addressed by UHM secretary general Gejtu Vella and informed of the latest developments.

Despite these last developments, the union is still hopeful that an agreement is reached by the Libyan and Maltese governments on the financing of the radio station and that the radio will thus be able to continue with its transmissions and the employees' jobs are safeguarded.