Sociologist, local councillor, activist from Malta

Friday, May 01, 2009

Workers' Day - Time for a Green New Deal

www.alternattiva.org.mt
Press Release 1 May 2009


In its message for workers' day, Alternattiva Demokratika - The Green Party saluted trade unions, progressive movements and activists who are doing their utmost to defend workers' rights. AD added that the Green New Deal can help confront problems being faced by workers in Malta, through safeguarding of jobs, improvement of work conditions and creation of sustainable jobs.

Michael Briguglio, spokesperson for Social and Economic Development said that whilst AD supports Government's efforts to protect existing jobs, Government should abandon policies which result in increased hardships for workers.

"Whilst new job opportunities are being created in Malta, many of these are not offering job security to workers due their precarious nature. Contractual and part-time jobs are often characterised by exploitative practices such as lack of various rights and lack of unionisation. This is effecting various categories of workers, including young, ageing, female workers and workers with family responsibilities."

Michael Briguglio added, "at the same time, thousands of workers are having difficulty coping with the cost of living, particularly due to the rise in utility bills and foodstuffs. In this regard, AD is supporting the Maltese trade-unions which are defending workers' rights."

"Thousands of workers are also facing difficulties in balancing work and family responsibilities, and the Government of Malta is not helping much in this regard, due to its opposition to the European Parliament's proposal for increased maternity leave. To the contrary, AD and the European Greens are proposing social policies which promote the work-life balance, where men and women actively participate in both employment as well as in family life and caring roles."

Yvonne Ebejer Arqueros, AD MEP candidate said, "AD agrees with the European Parliament proposals to harmonise and increase the minimum maternity leave throughout the EU. The Maltese government is resisting such a positive development. AD in the EP will insist on improvement of working conditions throughout the EU including in Malta and Gozo. An AD MEP will represent forward looking and socially conscious Maltese and Gozitans."

Prof Arnold Cassola, AD Chairperson and MEP candidate, added:'AD is preoccupied with the increase of unemployed workers in Malta, and believes that social and economic policies should be more forward looking to prevent further increases. As a member of the European Greens, AD believes in a social Europe and is promoting the Green New Deal which will create millions of jobs in areas such as manufacturing, tourism, services, IT, research, alternative energy, transport, agriculture and waste management'.

'It is estimated that 5 million Green jobs can be created within the European Union. The United Nations, Trade Unions and Employers' Associations are supporting the Green New Deal, as this creates sustainable employment opportunities at various levels. AD also believes that fair-trade and co-operative structures deserve more support from the Government as these ensure better work conditions'.

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