The Industrial Tribunal is a juridical Tribunal made up of a Chairman and two members (one representing Workers’ interests and the other Employers’ interests) drawn up from separate panels in the case of an Industrial Dispute whilst of a chairman alone in the case of alleged unfair dismissal. It is regulated by the Employment and Industrial Relations Act 2002(Cap 452).
The tribunal hears disputes in the public but it may hold private sittings. Statements of Cases are asked of the parties who are then given an opportunity to support their cases by oral pleading.
Subject to the rules laid down under the Act, the Tribunal is free to regulate its own procedures but it is expected to observe the rules of natural justice and to decide on the substantive merits of the case in front of it.
Awards or decisions are binding on both parties. The parties are not free unilaterally to seek a revision within a year. They may however ask for an interpretation if the need arises.
Enforcement of the Tribunal’s decisions vests in the Tribunal itself. The minister is empowered to ask the tribunal for advice in regard to matters relating to Trade Disputes.
In cases of unfair dismissal the Tribunal may order re-instatement of the employee or award compensation.
In its awards the Tribunal is expected to refrain from any decision or consistent with any law or regulation regarding Conditions of Employment. The Tribunal is forbidden from encroaching upon the Public Service Commission.
No application fee or court fees are payable. The only real expenses are the transcripts which are obtained at a reasonable fee from the Law Courts transcribes, and the fee due to the person assisting the applicant. These fees are stipulated by L.N. 48 of 1986 - Representation Fees Regulations.
The Tribunal Office is housed at the Department of Industrial and Employment Relations and sittings are held at the Superior Courts.
Presenting a case to the Industrial Tribunal
A case before the Tribunal must be presented by means of a referral in writing consisting of a declaration stating the facts of the case. The referral must be presented in the Registry of the Tribunal at the Maltese Law Courts within four months from the effective date of the alleged breach.
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