After workers’ strike, Fortina severs ties with contractor

Miguela Xuereb

Tista' taqra bil- Malti.

In the wake of a strike by workers over months of unpaid wages, Fortina has severed ties with the contracted company, TACA Construction.

TACA, a Turkish company, recruited around 80 construction workers from its country of origin to work on the redevelopment of the former Fortina Hotel. But the workers – who told Newsbook.com.mt that they were being paid €1,250 a month to work 11-hour days, six days a week – went on strike last month after claiming to have received no wages for months on end.

In a statement, Fortina Contracting said that it gave TACA a notice of termination on 3 June. It said that as “a sign of goodwill,” and on TACA’s request, it engaged in talks in a bid to salvage the situation.

“We have done everything within our power to try and salvage the situation, but TACA’s failure to return its workers on site has left us with no alternative but to confirm our decision to terminate,” a company spokesman said.

The spokesman said that it empathised with the workers and that it had done its utmost to meet all its financial obligations, paying over and above this to facilitate matters. The company announced that a new contractor will be taking over works on site in the coming days, and that it will be holding TACA responsible for damages.

Fortina, which is owned by the Zammit Tabona family, is redeveloping the former hotel into a mixed-use high-rise building, incorporating over 100 apartments. Since the area had originally been transferred by the government on condition that it be used for tourism, a parliamentary vote was required for its plans to come to fruition: the vote passed on party lines.