Environment Policy and the Budget

The National Environment Policy Issues Paper, launched by the Parliamentary Secretary for the Environment, Mario de Marco, on July 27 requested the views of the public on a move towards a taxation system that “penalises pollution rather than jobs”.

When launching the 2011 pre-Budget document on the same day, Finance Minister Tonio Fenech was more clear as to the government’s intentions. Under the heading Tax Shifting, he proposed the shifting of taxes from economic goods to economic bads. The pre-Budget document goes on to say: “In order to incentivise the creation of work by making labour less costly we are proposing the lowering of government-induced employee costs as well as corporate and income taxation.” The pre-Budget document then praises the merits of a carbon tax as a fiscal tool.

It seems that both the minister and the parliamentary secretary have forgotten that taxation does not penalise jobs. It is an instrument for the attainment of social solidarity. That is what the post-1977 Nationalist Party I remember was in favour of. It seems that time has changed the PN. It cannot be anymore described as being “un partito di centro che guarda a sinistra” (a party of the centre that looks to the left), as the old guard, quoting Alcide de Gasperi, justifiably boasted.

The drafters of the documents launched could have consulted the Cabinet-approved National Sustainable Development Strategy for the Maltese Islands (page 59), which established 2008 for the conclusion of a strategy on environmental taxation. The year 2008 is 32 months away and the strategy on the use of economic instruments to regulate environmental impacts is still not in place. Instead of asking for views of the public they should have drafted the strategy that has been promised but not delivered. It could be a useful guide for the finance minister.

At issue in this debate on tax shifting are points already emphasised during the eco-contribution legislation debate in 2004/05. Which ministry will be in the driving seat of environment taxation policy: Finance or the environment? Will the primary objectives of environment taxation be environmental or fiscal?

The strategy to be adopted and, thus, the specific proposals to be brought forward will depend on whether fiscal policy is used to regulate and reduce environmental impacts or whether the environment will be used to compensate for shortfalls in tax revenue.

After 17 years, the government has woken up to the proposals of a Jacques Delors EU White Paper in 1993 on growth, competitiveness and employment [COM (93) 700 final] who had the argued in favour of taxing environmental impacts and resource use.

In its 2008 electoral manifesto, the PN promised it will reduce income tax in the higher bands. It is now seeking ways to deliver without subjecting the Exchequer to further problems. It is very unfortunate that an inappropriate tool was selected. As a result of the tax shifting proposal, a tax, which is socially progressive (income tax) will be partially substituted with a carbon tax that, viewed on its own, can be socially regressive. The proposal aims to reduce taxation from a band which is paid mostly by companies and those who have a substantial income. To compensate for the resulting shortfall, it will spread the tax-load on everyone without discrimination, irrespective of their means.

Once the government decided on the reduction of the higher band income tax, I understand that it did not have much of a choice. In order to ensure a regular flow of income, which would have to substitute a reduction of the forfeited income tax, it had to select a subject in respect of which (at least, in the short term) demand is largely inelastic to tax-induced price changes.

It would be interesting if any studies on the impacts of the pre-Budget tax-shifting proposal are available. Such studies should clearly demonstrate the two basic flaws of the proposal: first it’s being socially regressive and, secondly, it’s exploiting of the environment as a tax revenue generator without ensuring environmental improvement as a primary objective.

If environmental improvement was a primary objective, the projected tax revenues would not be generated as they would be reduced gradually, in line with environmental improvement.

A carbon tax would force business and industry to address their environmental impacts. However, the impacts of a carbon tax on SMEs and households have to be assessed more carefully before policy declarations are made in view of the limited size of the former and the lack of resources of both. Given that most of Malta’s business is in the SME sector, matters should first be studied in their proper perspective before declarations are made or decisions taken.

There are various alternatives to the government’s proposals. Each one of them must however be tested through studies to ensure that the social and environmental impacts of fiscal policy are either positive or else substantially mitigated.

Studies made must be available at this stage. Otherwise, the discussions on both the National Environment Policy and the pre-Budget document would be just kite flying exercises.

 

published in The Times Saturday, September 4, 2010

 

Alternattiva Demokratika u l-Working Time Directive

 

Waqt diskussjoni bit-tema Ewropa Soċjali – Malta Soċjali, Arnold Cassola Chairman ta’ Alternativa Demokratika spjega l-posizzjoni ta’ AD dwar il-Working Time Directive tal-Unjoni Ewropea.

 

Din id-Direttiva tobbliga li għal raġunijiet ta’ saħħa fuq il-poist tax-xogħol ħaddiem ma jaħdmix iktar minn medja ta’ 48 siegħa xogħol ikkalkulati fuq perjodu ta’ sena.

 

Arnold qal li Alternattiva ma taqbilx li Direttiva bħal din tkun tapplika għal Malta minħabba l-pagi baxxi f’dan il-pajjiż. Għax minħabba l-pagi baxxi hi neċessita li ħaddiem ifittex xogħol addizzjonali (part-time) wara x-xogħol normali u dan biex ilaħħaq mal-ispejjes. B’pagi aħjar ikun possibli li wieħed jillimita l-ħin tax-xogħol. Imma sadanittant m’hemmx għażla.

 

Il-bidla tal-klima u l-ħolqien tax-xogħol: x’relazzjoni?

illum 

 minn Carmel Cacopardo

ippubblikat 30 ta’ Novembru 2008

Dan kien is-sustanza tal-indirizz tal-kelliem fis-seminar organizzat mill-UĦM nhar il-25 ta’ Novembru 2008

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Kull union tagħti prijorità lill-kundizzjonijiet tax-xogħol tal-membri tagħha. Union ġenerali bħall-UĦM għandha l-possibiltà u r-riżorsi li tifrex il-ħarsa tagħha b’mod iktar wiesa’.
Il-Unions kienu fost tal-ewwel li fehmu u ħadmu biex ħaddieħor jifhem illi l-politika ekonomika ma tistax tħares biss lejn il-profitt materjali iżda trid kontinwament tiffoka fuq l-impatti soċjali.
Illum diversi qed jirrealizzaw li aħna ma ngħixux f’ekonomija. Ngħixu f’eko-sistema. Ma nillimitawx rwieħna iżjed għall-effett fuq il-bniedem iżda nikkunsidraw ukoll il-flora u l-fawna tal-viċin u tal-bogħod.
Meta nagħmlu hekk inkunu qed nassiguraw li nħarsu lil hinn minn imneħirna. B’hekk inkunu qed nassiguraw li filwaqt li aħna illum kellna l-opportunità li nieħdu d-deċiżjonijiet meħieġa għall-progress fi żmienna fl-istess ħin inħallu l-possibilità li dawk li għadhom ma twildux meta jiġi l-waqt ikunu huma wkoll jistgħu jieħdu d-deċiżjonijiet tagħhom. Dan hu l-bażi ta’ politika dwar l-iżvilupp sostenibbli u l-pedament ta’ ekonomija ġdida, ekonomija ekoloġika.
Il-politika dwar il-klima nipproponi li nħarsu lejha b’dan il-mod.
Illum hawn preokkupazzjoni dwar il-bdil fil-klima. Din il-preokkupazzjoni hi mnissla mill-fatt li l-bidla fil-klima qed tinħass u l-effetti tagħha qed jidhru. Sakemm dawn l-effetti bdew jidhru ftit kienu dawk li taw kaz: imma l-ħsara diġà kienet hemm.
Dak li l-effett tiegħu jmur lil hinn minn leġislatura Parlamentari – f’kull rokna tad-dinja – dejjem tħalla għal “iktar tard”. Issa l-“iktar tard” wasal.
Il-klima qed tinbidel u għandha effetti kbar fuqna u madwarna.
It-temperatura li qed togħla nieħdu pjaċir biha fix-xhur xitwin imma fis-sajf iddejjaqna u per konsegwenza nixgħelu iktar kmieni u għal perjodi itwal l-air conditioner.
Fil-heat waves li qed ikollna fis-sjuf qed jiżdiedu l-imwiet ta’ anzjani li ma jifilħux għas-sħana żejda, filwaqt li bit-temperatura togħla fix-xitwa b’mod partikolari f’pajjiżi ferm iksaħ minn tagħna, qed jonqsu l-imwiet kawża tal-kesħa fix-xitwa. Imma b’temperatura li togħla iktar nistgħu nkunu f’pożizzjoni li mard li jinġarr minn insetti li ma għixux fit-temperaturi li kellna s’issa jistgħu jfeġġu fiċ-ċirkustanzi l-ġodda li qed jiżviluppaw.
In-natura, kemm il-flora kif ukoll il-fauna, bit-temperatura togħla qed titħawwad ftit. Għax tifhem li nbidel l-istaġun u l-bidla tat-temperatura jibda proċess tal-istaġun li jkun imiss.
L-intensità tax-xita nassoċjawha mal-għargħar f’B’Kara u l-Imsida jew mat-tappieri tad-drenaġġ ifuru f’diversi partijiet ta’ Malta. Forsi m’aħniex konxji li xita qawwija tkaxkar il-ħamrija mill-għelieqi tagħna.
In-nuqqas tax-xita mhux biss tnixxef l-għelieqi imma tnaqqas r-rata li biha l-ilma tal-pjan ikun sostitwit bl-ilma tax-xita li jipperkola mill-blat. Flimkien mal-użu dejjem jiżdied tal-ilma tal-pjan in-nuqqas ta’ xita qed iżid id-dipendenza tal-pajjiż fuq sorsi mhux naturali għall-ilma meħtieġ għall-konsum b’mod li illum niddependu għal 60% tal-ilma mir-Reverse Osmosis.
Is-silġ qed idub għax it-temperatura medja globali qed togħla u per konsegwenza l-livell tal-baħar qiegħed jogħla.
Filwaqt li dan mhux se jiġri għada jista’ jibda joqrob lejn tmiem is-seklu li qegħdin fih.
Is-silġ fl-Artiku qed jonqos u nafu ukoll li jekk iddub dik li hi magħrufa bħala l-Greenland Ice Cap il-volum ta’ ilma ġenerat iservi biex jgħolli l-livell tal-baħar b’7 metri. Dan ikkawżat mill-gassijiet serra (greenhouse gases) li jirriżultaw mill-ħidma umana. Il-kontribut tagħna bħala Malta ġej prinċipalment mill-enerġija u t-trasport u f’miżura inqas mill-iskart u mill-agrikultura.
It-tnaqqis tal-kontribut tagħna bħala pajjiż lejn il-bidla fil-klima għaldaqstant irid jindirizza prinċipalment il-ġenerazzjoni tal-enerġija u t-trasport.
Fil-qasam tal-enerġija alternattiva filwaqt li ma nistax ngħid li ma sar xejn, nista’ iżda ngħid li dak li sar sar tard u bil-mod. Għalkemm ġie determinat sit potenzjali għall-istallazzjoni ta’ turbini tar-riħ għadu kmieni biex nistgħu ngħidu li dak hu s-sit. Meta jkun tlesta l-eżami tal-impatti ambjentali nkunu nistgħu nitkellmu aħjar fuq is-sit tas-Sikka l-Bajda.
Dwar siti fuq l-art nifhem li mhux faċli. Bejn li ħadd ma jridhom wara biebu prinċipalment minħabba l-ħsejjes li jiġġeneraw u bejn problemi ta’ estetika. S’issa iżda ma jidhirx li saru sforzi biex jinstabu siti adatti fuq l-art.
Fir-raba’ tagħna l-bdiewa użaw irdieden tar-riħ biex itellgħu l-ilma. Is-siti ta’ dawn l-irdieden tar-riħ huma magħżula bir-reqqa minn missirijietna. Dawn is-siti, li jgħoddu bil-mijiet, kollha għandhom il-potenzjal li jintużaw biex ikunu istallati turbini ta’ daqs medju.
Fiż-żoni industrijali hemm ukoll il-possibbiltà ta’ stallazzjoni ta’ turbini tar-riħ, tal-inqas f’dawk il-partijiet li huma ’l bogħod mill-abitat.
Dwar l-enerġija ġġenerata mix-xemx sar ftit wisq. L-għajnuna finanzjarja mogħtija mill-Gvern fl-aħħar baġit għalkemm hi ġeneruża hi ftit wisq biex tagħmel differenza. Minbarra dan l-applikabbiltà tagħha hi limitata għal min għandu l-mezzi biex joħroġ parti mill-kapital rikjest.
Kien ikun iktar floku kieku kienet ikkunsidrata skema fejn l-ispejjeż tal-istallazzjoni jkunu jistgħu jitħallsu permezz tal-elettriku ġġenerat.
F’dan il-kuntest l-eżempju li l-Gvern qiegħed jagħti permezz ta’ skejjel bħal San Benedittu fejn ġew istallati pannelli fotovoltajċi għandu jkun estiż għall-bini pubbliku kollu fuq medda ta’snin. Dan jinvolvi spiża kapitali mhux żgħira imma fi ftit żmien din hi spiża li tista’ tkun irkuprata, b’mod partikolari issa li r-rati tal-elettriku sparaw ’il fuq.
Fil-mixja lejn ekonomija ekoloġika, qed jinħolqu (u jistgħu jinħolqu bosta iktar) impiegi illi jikkontribwixxu biex tkun ippreservata l-kwalità ambjentali u fejn neċessarju din tkun restawrata. Dan jinkludi impjiegi konnessi mal-ħarsien tal-eko-sistemi u l-biodiversità, impjiegi konnessi mat-tnaqqis fil-ħela ta’ enerġija elettrika, tal-ilma u riżorsi oħra, tnaqqis fl-użu tal-carbon mill-ekonomija (decarbonisation), tnaqqis fil-ġenerazzjoni tal-iskart u tniġġis ta’ kull forma.

Dan se jfisser:
1. li jistgħu jinħolqu impjiegi ġodda fil-manufattura ta’ apparat li jnaqqas it-tniġġis,
2. xi impiegi ser jiċċaqalqu minn xogħol li qed isir illum għal xogħol ġdid li qed jinħoloq bħal fil-qasam tal-iskart jew fil-qasam tal-ġenerazzjoni tal-enerġija alternattiva flok dik tradizzjonali,
3. xi impiegi ser jintilfu u dan in konnessjoni ma’ attività li tista’ tkun eliminata jew imnaqqsa,
4. impiegi oħra ser ikunu żviluppati u trasformati biex jieħdu konsiderazzjoni ta’ realtajiet ġodda.

Dawn l-impiegi jikkonċernaw
1. il-ħtiġijiet tekniċi konċernati l-ġenerazzjoni ta’ enerġija alternattiva,
2. il-miżuri meħtieġa biex tiżdied l-effiċjenza tal-bini fl-użu tal-enerġija,
3. xogħol speċjalizzat konċernanti t-trasport, kemm dak għall-użu privat kif ukoll dak għall-użu tal-pubbliku,
4. l-industrija tar-riċiklar,
5. l-industrija tal-iskart,
6. is-servizzi ambjentali,
7. l-agrikultura in partikolari fit-transizzjoni lejn agrikultura organika.

It-triq hi twila u iebsa. Hemm problemi diversi konnessi mal-fatt li bdejna tard fit-triq lejn ekonomija li tirrispetta l-ambjent. Hemm ukoll il-problema li l-Gvern mhux dejjem konvint minn dak li qiegħed jagħmel.
Imma nemmen li l-kuxjenza nazzjonali li qed tifforma ser tgħin u tkun ta’ sostenn kbir biex din it-triq nibqgħu mexjin fiha bħala pajjiż.
F’din il-mixja l-unions għandhom rwol kbir. Mhux biss ta’ edukazzjoni tal-membri bħall-attività tal-lum. Imma fuq kollox li jassiguraw li l-partiti politiċi kollha jibqgħu mexjin f’din it-triq.

The politics of sustainable development

published on Sunday 29 June 2008

by Carmel Cacopardo

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 The government is in transit: it has declared that from now on sustainable development will be the cornerstone of its policies. However, it has not yet stated how this will come about. With regard to this issue, it cannot wait five years to implement its proposal. It must be in a position to deliver immediately.

The adoption of sustainable development as the focus of government policy should lead to the logical conclusion that the economy should henceforth no longer be viewed as an objective but rather as a tool: the economy should be at our service, rather than being our master! The point of departure should be the ecosystem of which we form part. The limited capacity of our ecosystem should lead us to adopt ecocentric policies as distinguished from the current anthropocentric ones. This is what sustainability is all about and this is what the adoption of sustainable development, as a policy objective, should lead us to. The transition from the current state of affairs to a sustainable state should hopefully address the causes of our accumulated environmental deficit!

The government is now seeking ways to live up to its declarations in favour of sustainable development, hoping that it would not have to resort to make substantial changes to existing policies. It is however next to impossible to arrest the accumulated and ever-increasing environmental deficit without addressing the policies and attitudes that have caused it. The list is quite long!

In Malta too, mainstream politics is motivated by the instant link between cause and effect. The community almost immediately feels the economic and social effects of policies and administrative decisions. Thus, mainstream politicians are generally quick to react even to a perceived impact on the economy or on the social fabric. The effects of environmental impacts are however generally much

slower, in part due to the resilience of Mother Earth. Hence, for innumerable political generations, environmental impacts were completely ignored or sidelined, as there was a time lag at times of considerable duration between cause and effect. Now the chickens are coming home to roost and further postponement is not possible. Today’s generation will have to shoulder and address the accumulated environmental deficit, hopefully reducing its effect on future generations.

Policy needs to be approached in a holistic manner, focusing simultaneously on social environmental and economic considerations. It is not a question of an artificial balance between the economy, the environment and social policy but of acting correctly, preferably each and every time. A policy, which is economically sound but socially and/or environmentally wobbly, is of no use and should be discarded. The reverse side is already common practice as socially and environmentally sound policies are rarely applied if they do not pass the test of economic viability.

I acknowledge that this is quite a hard nut to crack, as it will require revisiting practically all areas of policy. Some areas will require minor policy adjustments while others will require a complete overhaul. In some areas action has already commenced. In others, action is incomprehensible at this stage given the current prevalent mindset.

The politics of sustainable development is concerned with redirecting economic activity such that this is compatible with ecological and social requirements. The environment, the economy and social needs are thus placed on the same level when decisions are taken. Throughout the years economic decisions have generally taken into consideration their social impacts. As a result, various measures have been introduced to mitigate and/or prevent negative social effects. The politics of social solidarity as developed has assisted in the transition from a free market economy to a social market economy.

The politics of sustainable development is the means leading to the next transition: an ecocentric economy. The environmental impacts of social and economic policy require attention at the drawing board rather than mitigation after they have occurred. In order for this to occur, it is required that instead of facing the effects we direct our energies to tackle the causes. It is for this reason that the Environment Protection Act of 2001 provides in Section 8 for the setting up of a National Sustainability Commission entrusted with the drafting of a National Strategy for Sustainable Development for the Maltese Islands. The Commission has laboured between 2002 and 2006 to produce a draft, which was concluded and presented to Cabinet for approval in December 2006. Cabinet approved it late in 2007.

In the public sector, the government’s adoption of the principles of sustainable development should spur action on three levels – tackling upstream impacts, direct impacts and downstream impacts. This will necessarily filter through to the private sector that will effectively have no choice but to proceed on similar lines. The government would be leading by example.

Some time last year, the government had commenced an exercise which should eventually lead to a system of public sector green purchasing, whereby non-economic criteria are inbuilt into tender documents. This would not only entail conditions of environmental importance, but also ones of social relevance. We have not heard much on developments to date except declarations during the March 2008 election campaign, and some echoes

afterwards that when contracting-out for services, the public sector will be on the look out for the conditions of work of the employees of those who take part in the tendering process. This was stated because a miniscule part of the private sector is being very innovative when it comes to determining the manner of circumventing the acquired rights of its employees. While the government is certainly hitting the right note when it identified the rights of those employed by bidders for public tenders as ripe for scrutiny, I believe that it is well past the stage of declarations. Concrete action is urgently required.

The public sector will properly manage its upstream impacts only if it ensures that all those who supply it with goods and services do so in a manner that is socially just and environmentally responsible.

The direct impacts of the public sector are the most obvious ones. The appointment of Green Leaders in different ministries and authorities was a step in the right direction as it set the foundations for a culture change among public sector employees. It can lead to quick results (known in environmental management as the “low lying fruit”) in areas related to energy and water consumption, use of stationery, other materials and equipment and waste management among others. The appointment of green leaders can thus set the public sector on the road leading to eco-efficiency.

However, an emphasis on the public sector downstream impacts will be that which eventually could make the major difference. The effects on those at the receiving end of the public sector will not only determine “value for money” but also, more importantly, in my view, it will determine whether the public sector is eco-effective.

The first on the list would be public sector employees themselves and the effects of the fixed term contract on their morale and professional conduct. Subsequently, each policy must be examined for its ecological impact while searching for alternative methods of implementation, which would reduce or preferably eliminate its undesirable impacts.

Managing the social and environmental impacts of the public sector is of paramount importance in the path leading to sustainable development. This will involve the individual policies that need to be analysed in detail. Value for money is not the only criterion used to assess whether public monies have been well spent. When this is taken in hand the public sector would have commenced trekking on the long road of sustainable development. The first steps are the most difficult. Translating rhetoric into action is only possible if the original rhetoric is a reflection of an inner conviction.

Only time will tell.

Impiegi ġenerati mill-ambjent

Dal-għodu ħadt sehem f’seminar organizzat mill-ETC dwar l-impiegi ġenerati mill-ambjent.

Dan is-seminar huwa parti minn proġett ta’ studju ffinanzjat primarjament mill-Unjoni Ewropeja permezz tal-fondi strutturali. Intitolat Green Jobs : what prospects ?  is-seminar kien jifforma partu minn studju intitolat Study on Job Creation and Job Training in the Environment Sector.

Fis-seminar ħareġ ċar kemm għadna lura minkejja d-dikjarazzjonijiet kollha li jsiru. Ħareġ ċar l-interess tal-Universita ta’ Malta – li ma kienitx prezenti. Ħarġet ċara l-frustrazzjoni tal-industrija u l-intrapriża private iffaċċjata b’regolamentazzjoni mingħajr ma jsibu in-nies imħarrġa biex din ir-regolamentazzjoni tkun tista’ tkun osservata u implimentata.

Għad baqa’ ftit biex noħroġu minn din il-mentalita ta’ dilettanti : fejn kollox (jew kważi) jsir fl-aħħar minuta minhabba t-tama li jekk inhu possibli ma jinbidel xejn.

Seminar bħal dan huwa dejjem utli għax jiftaħ għajnejn dawk il-ftit li huma konxji li hemm ftit oħra li jaħsbuha bħalhom. 

Dilemma

L-Independent (UK) f’artiklu ippubblikat il-bierah jikkummenta dwar deciżjoni diffiċli ta’ ippjanar fejn id-deċiżjoni li kellha tittieħed ma kienitx bejn xi ħaġa tajba jew oħra ħażina, iżda bejn żewġ materji li t-tnejn huma tajba.

 

Id-dilemma kienet jekk jingħatax permess għal onshore wind farm fl-Isle of Lewis. Din il-wind farm li kieku ngħatat il-permess kienet ser toħloq mijiet ta’ impiegi f’żona remota kif ukoll kienet ser tikkontribwixxi mhux ftit biex jintlaħqu l-miri ta’ ġenerazzjoni ta’ enerġija alternattiva.

 

Imma kien hemm ukoll ħdax-il elf oġġezzjoni minn residenti li emfasizzaw il-ħtieġa u l-importanza tal-biodiversita’. Għax l-inħawi huma protetti (Special Protection Area) magħrufa għal għasafar rari li l-esistenza tagħhom hi mhedda.

 

Dilemma kbira li mhux il-MEPA biss ikollha minnhom !

Ara ukoll dawn l-Scotsman u l-Guardian.

Lidl, the Big Brother supermarket, is watching you

The Lidl Scandal

From The Times (London)

March 27, 2008

by Roger Boyes in Berlin

The Stasi secret police may have died with communism but its surveillance methods are still alive at Lidl, the German supermarket chain.

George Orwell’s Big Brother, it seems, stalks the aisles between the cornflakes and the canned dogfood. Detectives hired by Lidl – which has more than 7,000 stores worldwide, including 450 in Britain – have been monitoring romance at the cash till, visits to the lavatory and the money problems of shelf-stackers.

Several hundred pages of surveillance records have been passed on to Stern magazine, causing outrage among the unions and data protection officials. Verdi, the powerful service sector union, is offering legal help to Lidl workers who want to sue the company for invasion of privacy.

The secret monitoring of staff seems to have taken place only in Germany, though there have been reports of something similar from Lidl outlets in Eastern Europe. Lidl UK declined to comment yesterday. In Britain Lidl has gained the reputation of being a sharp competitor to chains such as Tesco and Sainsbury but staff have complained in the past of long hours and low wages. Lidl Germany says that the cameras were placed “to secure our goods against shoplifting and not to watch our employees”. Even so, spokeswoman Petra Trabert said that the surveillance helped to “establish any possible wrong behaviour.”

Detectives hired by Lidl in Germany would install ten covert matchbox-sized cameras at strategic points in a supermarket every Monday and observe the store for a week. What emerges from the mass of accumulated material is a portrait of an intrusive employer; no information is too trivial for the watchers.

Here is Observation period 9-14 July, 2007 at a branch near Hanover: “Saturday 10.10am Ms J tells Ms L that she has never paid her television license fees because she is still registered with her parents, even though she lives with her boyfriend. The detective’s end-of-week advice to management is that Ms J is a security risk.”

Ms J’s days with Lidl, one suspects, could be numbered. But a Lidl spokeswoman told Stern: “All the people named in the transcripts are still employed with Lidl with the exception of five workers. Two were released after the end of their probation period, another three offered to resign.”

Little escapes Lidl. Above all there is a fascination with lavatory behaviour. “Ms R has been leaving the till to go to the toilet every 15 minutes, despite waiting customers,” says one report.

Watching two staff at a cash till in northern Germany, detectives spotted a budding romance. “Friday 13.50. The relationship between Ms L and Mr H should be investigated since they seem to have become close. When Mr H counted up Ms L’s takings he drew a little heart on the receipt.”

Among the crates of cheap German beer at Lidl’s Brixton branch, there would be plenty of places to hide cameras. The store’s deputy manager, who declined to be named, told The Times that he had no knowledge of any covert surveillance in his branch. He said that the rows of roof-mounted cameras are there only for security.

For Peter Schaar, the government ombudsman for data protection, the Lidl revelations are deeply disturbing. Federal data protection law, he says, is strict about surveillance in public spaces such as supermarkets. Hidden cameras like those used by the Stasi are banned. “They count as clandestine surveillance which is forbidden.”

Lidl …………….is-Supermarket taċ-Ċaqnu f’Ħal-Safi

btn_polidano.gif   lidl.jpg                         

Is-supermarket li qed jibni ċ-Ċaqnu f’Ħal-Safi huwa għad-ditta Lidl, kumpanija ta’ oriġini Ġermaniża li topera madwar 7,000 supermarket mifruxa mal-Ewropa kollha.

 

L-isem sħiħ tal-kumpanija hu Lidl Stiftung & Co KG. Hija propjeta tal-kumpanija  Schwarz li minbarra l-Lidl tippossjedi ukoll ic-chain stores Handelshof u Kaufland.

 

Lidl huwa mifruxa fi 17-il pajjiż u jopera bħala discount store.

 

F’artiklu intitolat Cheap – but not so cheerful ? Helen Pidd fil-ħarġa tal-Guardian tal-14 ta’ Marzu 2007 (ara http://www.guardian.co.uk/business/2007/mar/14/businesscomment.supermarkets) titkellem fuq l-istrateġiji kontroversjali tal-Lidl, b’mod partikolari fil-mod kif tittratta lill-ħaddiema tagħha.

 

Aqra l-artiklu ħalli tifforma l-opinjoni tiegħek.

 

Tista’ tara ukoll dan is-sit : http://www.union-network.org/UNISITE/Sectors/Commerce/index_multinationals_Lidl.htm

 Inkompli darba oħra.