1955 Founding of The Malta Police Association (MPA)
The Malta Police Association (MPA) came to existence way back in July 1955, when it was officially founded following a proposal for its set up in 1950. The objectives behind its setup were mainly to protect young officers from any possible victimization and to ensure full cooperation and better understanding between officers. Since the 1950’s we find that the MPA’s representatives had already started voicing their concerns and complaints and this resulted in then Government of Malta soliciting a certain Mueller WA who was the Colonial Inspector of Police, to prepare a detailed report on the situation prevailing at the time in the Malta Police Force. The most common complaints encountered by the MPA in the beginning were about the long hours of work; that the service reserve time was not considered valid for pension purposes; that wages had to be increased; granting of allowances; request was made for a more comfortable uniform to be issued, which uniform was to be adequate to our climate; and another ailment reported was that the punishments being handed down for breaches of discipline were way too severe. Through the committed work of the Association in this period, many improvements were registered, amongst which, the most notably were that the Police started to benefit from increases in wages after a long period of time in which there had been no adjustment to the police remunerations; the reserve service (sort of probationary service) started being considered valid for pension purposes, open necked uniforms were adopted, promotions started being awarded on the basis of examinations, and working hours were reduced from twelve to eight.
2002 Association opened to all members of the Police, irrespective of their rank
From its inception until recently, only officers up to the rank of Inspector were able to join the Association. However, with the amendments made to the Police Act (Chapter 164 of the Laws of Malta) in 2002, membership to be able to be represented by the Association was made available to all members of the Police, irrespective of their rank. Since its very foundation, the MPA has always been the precursor to ensure improvement of the working conditions of the Police, even though its powers where very limited under the Police Act. For a number of years the MPA remained consistent in its demand so that restrictions imposed on the members of the police force barring them from their rights of association in a trade union of their choice be removed from the statute books, and for this right to be legally granted so that the rights of the members of the Malta Police Force would be in conformity with the European Convention for the Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms and the European Social Charter of the Council of Europe and the Charter of Fundamental Rights of the European Union.
2015 MPA’s status from that of an association into a union
This milestone for the MPA was achieved in 2015 when after years of consistent and persistent calls, they were answered by act of parliament (Act IV of 2015). This Act also allowed for the possibility of converting the MPA’s status from that of an association into a union. In fact, the MPA was officially registered as a trade union on the 12 August 2015 making it the first registered union representing police offices in these islands. Since then, the MPA has obtained a complete independent and autonomous status as a trade union of disciplined forces. However, its statute still requires that in order to become a member one must be a Police officer, thus, its “in-house” character has still been retained.
2016 MPA became member of EuroCOP and CMTU
In order to strengthen its position and gain better support on a European level, the MPA, in February 2016, following an application which was made in the previous year, officially became a member of EuroCOP (European Confederation of Police). In June 2016, the MPA in order to strengthen its position on a local level, it joined the Confederation of Malta Trade Unions (CMTU), which is a confederation of local trade unions who join their forces together and provide support to each other both in collective and sectoral issues.
2018 First Sectoral Agreement for the Members of the Police Force
A new sectoral agreement has been signed between the Police Force, The Malta Police Association and another Police Union which represent the Force members and the Government. Major benefits in the agreement include that Police members will no longer work 46 hours a week, while all the grades – from Constable to Inspector – will benefit from salaries increases and better conditions of work. Police members will for the first time benefit from a 40-hour working week as other workers, and will no longer work 46 hours a week and are paid for 40 hours. Time worked over 40 hours will now be paid as overtime. Officials from the Malta Police Association signed the agreement. Mr. Malcolm Bondin (MPA President) said that the agreement gives the necessary respect to police members, among others. Mr. Malcolm Bondin also stated “the package is a balance between family friendly measures and the financial benefit. These are two things that the Force suffered from and unfortunately we worked long hours – 46 hours a week – and this meant a lot of time lost with the family. The agreement of 40-hour a week means more time with the families”.