Since its begining, the GWU embarked on a campaign for the enactment of new and modern labour legislation to ensure the furtherance of the workers' rights and trade union freedom. The resolution of conflicts was one of the main points on the Union's agenda.
In 1945 the British authorities in Malta introduced the Trade Unions and Trade Disputes Ordinance. Three years after, in 1948, the first Labour Government enacted the Conciliation and Arbitration Act.
One important legislation was that of 1952, when following unending requests by the GWU, Parliament enacted the Conditions of Employment Regulations Act. The CERA, as it is commonly known established wages councils, fixed wage levels and determined minimum working conditions for workers in the private sector.
But the greatest achievement for the GWU in the industrial relations field was the enactment of the Industrial Relations Act of 1976. This was a landmark for the GWU and trade unionism in Malta as this Bill not only consolidated previous legislation but also made new provisions regulating worker-employer relations. It also protects industrial actions especially the right to strike. From then on trade unions were provided immunity against liabilities arising from industrial actions in furtherance of a trade dispute.
However, both legislations, while serving well the workers cause along the years, the need was felt for a review of the labour laws to address the modern challenges facing the world of work. Sunsequently, one comprehensive legislation, the Employment and Industrial Relations Act was adopted in 2002, thus confirming the workers and trade union rights and thus giving further legal basis to such rights. The GWU was once again a protagonist in submitting several important amendments to the new law, most particularly the right to solidarity and sympathy strikes.