Former leading trade unionist, Tony Zarb, dies aged 68

General Workers’ Union trade unionist Tony Zarb dies, aged 68

Former leading trade unionist, Tony Zarb, has died aged 68, his son announced via social media earlier on Sunday.

His son, Elton, posted a picture of his father on Facebook, announcing his passing while writing that he never thought he would have to write this message.

Between 1998 and 2015, he served as general secretary of the General Workers’ Union and up to recently, despite his ailing health, he continued serving as acting secretary of the union’s pensioners section.

Zarb was awarded Gieħ ir-Repubblika in 2015 and made an appearance during a Labour Party (PL) campaign event for the elderly last March, urging them to vote for the government. Even on election day last March, a visibly weaker Zarb posted a video to Facebook, urging hurt PL supporters to vote.

The often controversial trade union giant spent most of his career striving for workers’ better salaries and conditions, negotiated countless collective agreements and was behind some of the major nationwide union strikes and protests.

Prime Minister Dr Robert Abela expressed his condolences, saying Zarb always put the weak and the workers as his priority.

Both the Nationalist and Labour parties expressed condolences in separate statements.