Sociologist, local councillor, activist, drummer from Malta

Sunday, August 24, 2008

Raise the Minimum Wage

The national minimum wage in Malta, €601.90 per month, has ranked 12th lowest in a comparative table of 20 EU countries drawn up by the European Industrial Relations Observatory.

The fact that Malta's minimum wage is low is even more worrying when Malta's cost of living keeps increasing, resulting in much burdens on workers of various categories and their families. Indeed, Malta's 5.6% annual change in inflation rate is the highest in ten years and that the increase between June and July 2008 is the highest in the Euro-zone.

The latest Eurobarometer survey shows that the major concern for Maltese citizens is the cost of living. AD is the only political party which is proposing an increase in the minimum wage, to make up for such burdens. In return, Government can also strive to reduce non-essential non-wage costs to employers. We are also proposing the introduction of a better methodology to measure cost of living increases as well as tax credits.

Government can take appropriate measures to ensure that an increase in the minimum wage does not impinge on Malta's competitiveness. As is the case with other developed societies, Malta can improve its competitiveness through workers' skills, innovation, adaptability and flexibility. This can result in more productivity, higher wages and more investment.

The cost of living is high on AD's agenda and we shall give central importance to this issue, alongside others, in our forthcoming budget proposals. The real value of people's wages is of key importance.


Andre Vella said...

I think it's fantastic that AD finally have a good spokesperson on economic matters. I believe this is a positive thing for the party as a whole.

As a student at university level I feel that this proposal can have an important impact on the student's life. There are a lot of post-secondary students who opt for a part-time job to be able to save some money. Balancing study and work is not an easy thing to manage, and thus students form a vulnerable part of the workforce that is easily exploited. Therefore an increase in the minimum wage only infers positive results for those working students.

However I like to add that this proposal might be more effective if it is accompanied measures which encourage workers to learn more about their rights. This is aimed to reduce illegal employment where in the best of cases the worker is paid minimum wage.

Apologies for the long comment.
Keep up the good work.

Andre Vella
Alternattiva Demokratika Zaghzagh

Joseph Caruana said...

MCESD just said that the white paper on flexicurity should tackle the issue of illegal employment.

To me it sounds plain obvious that such paper should go round all social problems surrounding the labour market.But if it has been excluded then it deserves even more forceful mentioning.

With regards to students there shuld be tax exemptions for them if they are working and not the treat that stipends be cut down. But prior to this there should be proper control on who is truly attending an educative institution and who is not.

Joseph Caruana
Alternattiva Demokratika Zaghzagh