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.