GRTU “beefs up it drive in Gozo to support local businesses”

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GRTU "beefs up it drive in Gozo to support local businesses"GRTU said that it has been visiting Gozo twice a week since the begining of July 2008. This is to discuss with its members their needs and the problems they face on a daily concern.

The Union said that it also now has bi-weekly meetings with the Ministry for Gozo.

Mr Frank Psaila and Mr Micheal Buhagiar are the Union’s direct contacts at the Ministry and all parties are working hard together working to eliminate problems that have been ingrained in Gozo over the last years, the Union said.

Ms Joanne Mifsud is responsible for GRTU Gozitan Enterprise Support including membership within GRTU and Green MT. Joanne is also present for meetings held with Local Councils in Gozo on a weekly basis. “Her working schedule keeps her in Gozo every Thursday and Friday so that on these days GRTU can serve the business community in Gozo directly, making it more reachable and accessible.”

Over the last two months the GRTU said that it has had a large number of meetings with individual members of the business community in Gozo. From these meetings a number of issues were brought up, including the following:

The lack of business in the off shoulder months and related ideas of how this can be mitigated

The lack of employment opportunites and identifying how this can improve

The improvement of transportation between Malta and Gozo, namely Gozo Channel issues but also other innovative ideas, including a priority boarding lane at an addittional fee.

The lack of a solution in relation to ‘Open Storage facilities,’ an issue which has now been lingering for a number of years

The lack of home accompanied support for the ever growing ageing population in Gozo. A situation that could lead to a substantial number of part time jobs in the care industry.

Adequate parking spaces in Victoria for visitors, and the proposed solutions

The lack of providing factory space for Gozitans who are employing people in an SME and would like to increase their business and thus increase their workforce in Gozo with Gozo based personnel.

A Gozo Free travel weekend is taking place for visitors in Mid November. The GRTU said that it is encouraging its members to participate fully in this event by providing discounts to the visitors crossing from Malta to the sister island. “From accomodation to the catering establishments, together we need to make sure that this is a success story which would remain in the yearly calendar always.”

The issue of lack of business in the shoulder months in Gozo has also brought about a suggestion from the business community which the GRTU said it is “sure would bolster substantially the shoulder months. We are recommending that from January to March, Gozo Channel charge the Maltese crossing to Gozo the same fares as Gozitans, so there would be just one fare for both cars and individuals for those three shoulder months.”

“This,” the GRTU said, “would increase business and also employment levels accordingly. It is very worrying to have to terminate someone’s job because of seasonality and more in Gozo where there is an ongoing brain drain in many sectors.”

GRTU will be holding a meeting for the Business Community this coming Tuesday, the 3rd of September, with respect to EU proposed funding for the years 2014 to 2020. This important meeting will be held at the NGO office in Xewkija at 2pm.

The meeting will be addressed by GRTU’s EU Desk, the Union said that it would like to hear participants views about the proposals Government is putting on the table, which once submitted to the community for approval later this year, will form an intrinsic part of the funding for the years to come until 2020.

GRTU said that it has “beefed up its drive in Gozo to support the Business Community. We want to make sure that Gozo reaps the benefits of any funding or schemes available in Malta. We want to make sure that together with the Ministry we work hand in hand to create new jobs for SMEs. We want to make sure that we reduce the brain drain leaving the island whilst sustaining development with respect to the environment.”

The GRTU concluded by saying it “is in Gozo to serve you better.”

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