Trade unionist Tony Zarb dies, aged 68

Last Updated on Sunday, 29 May, 2022 at 8:30 pm by Andre Camilleri

Trade unionist and former General Workers Union Secretary General Tony Zarb has died at the age of 68.

The news was shared on social media by his son Elton.

“I never thought I would have to write this message, and I have no words in this difficult moment.  My dear father left this world today.  Pa, the love I have for you will never die,” his son said.

Zarb was well-known for his activism within the General Workers Union, having joined the union in 1981 and rising through its ranks until he was appointed as its Secretary General in October 1998.

It was a post which he held for 16 years before he resigned in October 2015.

In that post he was a staunch opponent of the Nationalist government and many of its policies.  He led the ‘Issa Daqshekk’ campaign against the PN government, and was also against Malta’s entry into the European Union.

Zarb soon become a government consultant after the Labour Party was elected into government, and was awarded the Gieh ir-Repubblika a couple of years ago.

Tributes immediately began to flood in, with Prime Minister Robert Abela leading the way, commemorating Zarb as a man whose “values always favoured workers and the smaller members of society.”

The Nationalist Party also expressed its condolences, saying that Zarb remains synonymous with trade unionism for his years with the General Workers’ Union.

GWU Secretary General Josef Bugeja said in a statement that Zarb will remain remembered for his trade unionism and work towards workers’ rights.

On a personal basis, Bugeja said that he had known Zarb for many years and that he had learnt a lot from him and that he had lost a friend with whom he had grown. 

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