Malta Court Halts NetEnt Layoffs

The Superior Court in Malta has issued an injunction against NetEnt, which prevents the company from carrying out layoffs following its acquisition by Evolution. The injunction is the result of an industrial dispute brought by the General Workers Union (GWU) in Malta.

After acquiring NetEnt for €2.3 billion, Evolution began to integrate the company, and part of the plan was to make €30 million of cost-cutting measures, including 324 layoffs in Malta.

GWU represents NetEnt employees in an industrial dispute

However, the GWU, which represents most of NetEnt’s employees in Malta, quickly declared an industrial dispute over the layoffs and threatened industrial action. It claimed that Evolution had failed to recognize the GWU as an employee representative.

According to the GWU, this is in direct violation of Malta’s Collective Redundancies (Protection of Employment) Regulations and the Transfer of Business (Protection of Employment) Regulations. The former of these states, “the employer proposing to declare the collective redundancy has the duty to notify in writing the employees’ representatives,” while the latter contains further protections for layoffs resulting from mergers.

The GWU said that the business instead appointed its own employee representative, which “was dismissive of the employees’ pleas.” Furthermore, the union believes that it was a deliberate decision not to consult it in order to limit employees’ abilities to realize their rights.

In a statement, it said, “The GWU decried NetEnt and Evolution Gaming’s anti-union tactics, which it contends are intended to prevent an effective consultation of employees at a critical moment when they are facing potential redundancy days before Christmas.”

They pointed out that employees were only told of the layoffs very late in the day and that some claimed they had been “escorted out of their place of work that same day by the new owners.”

The court agreed with the union’s request for an injunction, meaning that the layoffs cannot take place until a hearing on 17 December.

A representative for the GWU said, “Thanks to the Court’s intervention following our urgent request, 324 illegal dismissals have now been put on hold. We will continue to insist that NetEnt and Evolution Gaming honor their consultation obligations in full, and we will do our utmost to ensure that jobs are saved, and, where that is not possible, that appropriate compensation is paid.”

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