Labour candidate discusses mental health at work with GWU

Mental health, affordable housing and Maltese banking among issues discussed in GWU meeting with EP candidate Marija Sara Vella Gafa

Marija Sara Vella Gafa (right) meeting GWU secretary-general Josef Bugeja
Marija Sara Vella Gafa (right) meeting GWU secretary-general Josef Bugeja

Mental health awareness, workers, the need for financial literacy, as well as affordable housing and Maltese banking were just a few of the main national issues discussed by a General Workers’ Union delegation during a meeting with European Parliament candidate Marija Sara Vella Gafa.

“Today, more than any other time, our fast-paced life has made it essential that a workplace has a dedicated staff member that can deal with such a delicate issue as mental health, and who can be turned to in times of need,” Marija Sara Vella Gafa said.

 GWU Secretary General Josef Bugeja said the GWU’s service of mental health therapy for its own employees was part of its mission in giving workers a holistic service, saying these workers are often the first point of contact with the situations and problems faced by worker-members. 

Another matter discussed was that of financial literacy, and the need for students to be taught and be made aware of financial education at a young age, in a bid to make them aware of how to judiciously utilise and save up money.

A key point was the need for private pension plans for workers to save up money right from the start of their employment journey, so as to have supplemented income in addition to the government’s national pension upon retirement.

Accessibility to banks and financial services within Maltese villages and localities, especially for elderly citizens, was a corollary of this discussion.  “Even third-country nationals who are workers in Malta are facing difficulties in opening a bank account here just so as to receive their salary,” Bugeja said on a related matter.

On her part, Marija Sara Vella Gafa spoke of the needs by people to have access to affordable property and housing. She added that Malta lacked awareness on sustainable buildings as well as of better assistance services for dwellers who, for example, are autistic and require particular services.

GWU Secretary General Josef Bugeja said the GWU was currently in discussions with the Foundation for Affordable Accommodation, whose aim is to assist residents in Malta hoping to become homeowners or pay reasonable rental rates.

Other subjects discussed were education, especially the vision to re-open trade schools, as well as remote working, the right to disconnect, and foreign workers in Malta.

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This article is part of a content series called Ewropej. This is a multi-newsroom initiative part-funded by the European Parliament to bring the work of the EP closer to the citizens of Malta and keep them informed about matters that affect their daily lives. This article reflects only the author’s view. The action was co-financed by the European Union in the frame of the European Parliament's grant programme in the field of communication. The European Parliament was not involved in its preparation and is, in no case, responsible for or bound by the information or opinions expressed in the context of this action. In accordance with applicable law, the authors, interviewed people, publishers or programme broadcasters are solely responsible. The European Parliament can also not be held liable for direct or indirect damage that may result from the implementation of the action.

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