Social partners react to government aid package

After Robert Abela unveiled a new aid package for the economy, this is how the social partners reacted

Malta Chamber of Commerce, Enterprise and Industry said it was satisfied with the measures introduced on Tuesday
Malta Chamber of Commerce, Enterprise and Industry said it was satisfied with the measures introduced on Tuesday

'Revised measures reflect Malta Chamber’s proposals' - Malta Chamber of Commerce

Malta Chamber of Commerce, Enterprise and Industry said it was satisfied with the measures introduced on Tuesday which largely reflected the suggestions the chamber had put forward. "The Chamber will follow the situation closely and keep an open channel of communication with the government, as the situation develops further possibly necessitating further adaptation. "

"The revised measures are being welcomed within the economic context, and as matters stand today. The measures announced today appropriately address the urgent surgical needs of the hardest-hit sectors," the chamber said. 

The chamber said it was mindful of the potential needs of another 100,000 workers elsewhere in the private sector or whom support may eventually be also required. 

"The Chamber was also amongst the main proponents in the consultation process for the establishment of a standard minimum benchmark contribution by the employer in order to eliminate misinterpretation." 

'We will keep on voicing concerns, for sectors that still need our support' - SMEs

The Chamber of SMEs welcomed the initiative announced by the prime minister on Tuesday, saying it was a "good first step," that fulfilled part of its request previously made to the government. 

"This should give the necessary lifeline for the coming months for businesses that are desperately in need and will be celebrating the opportunity to be able to retain their workforce. The details of the implementation of such a scheme will be essential to ensure that this opportunity will be as accessible as possible," SMEs said. 

However, the chamber said it would continue to raise its concerns in order to help other sectors and individuals that are struggling in the current economic climate. "This because we are aware of the real needs of industry and the importance of keeping businesses functioning to be able to reinvent themselves and be ready to hit the ground running when the economy starts going back to normal."

The chamber said that it was given assurances by the government and will continue to keep an open channel of dialogue as well as be responsive to the needs of the private sector. 

'New measures renew hope for the future' - MHRA

The Malta Hotels and Restaurants Association (MHRA) said it was pleased with the new wave of measures being put into place to mitigate the economic crises being caused by the COVID 19.  

“We are satisfied that our calls to Government for review have been heard by Government and that was ready to go back to the drawing board with us to ensure the welfare of the economy,” MHRA President Tony Zahra said. 

"In such telling times, we all must be united and use our collective knowledge, experience and efforts towards one common enemy,  called COVID 19. What we are living today is an extraordinary situation but must keep in mind that is a temporary one which definitely will leave a sour mark on all of us but there is future to look forward at which gradually will bring us back to the prosperous years which we have been used to for the past years,” Zahra said. 

Zahra highlighted that there would be more challenges to be faced in the coming days and months, however, he said that the MHRA was confident that the investment made by the government in the tourism industry would "definitely reap fruit when the time comes to relaunch our economy.”

'Measures announced will make sure that jobs are safer' - ACE

The Association of Catering Establishments said it was pleased to note that the Government took on board various suggestions it put forward to ensure business continuity within the catering sector as well as bars and restaurants. 

"The measures announced yesterday will make sure that jobs are safer, giving the necessary peace of mind to employers and employees. The ACE has been heavily working over the last weeks in order to safeguard jobs. It has managed this thanks to the collaboration of its members from the catering sector which have constantly responded to the various calls of ACE," the association said.  

The ACE said that it would continue to monitor the situation and ensure to keep an open dialogue with the government. "In the meantime ACE is working hand in hand with its members in order to find alternative sources of revenue. It is also working with members to plan together with a steady recovery when the spread of the virus is controlled."

'New measures take into consideration special circumstances Goztians face' - GBC and GTA 

The Gozo Business Chamber (GBC), and the Gozo Tourism Association (GTA) said it welcomed the measures and how they address the retention of employment among Gozitan businesses. 

"Throughout this week the GBC and the GTA have put forward their proposals repeatedly showing their concerns that if the Government did not intervene drastically, the damage to be done to the local business environment would be irreversible...Both the GBC and the GTA note positively that the new financial incentives now take into consideration the special circumstances being faced by Gozitan based enterprises." 

The GBC and the GTA said it would continue to work with the government as well as other stakeholders to continue to monitor the situation both at a local and a national level, "so that the financial incentives package will continue to address this situation, which is constantly evolving."

'A positive financial aid package' – MEA 

The Malta Employers’ Association said that the measures introduced were a step in the right direction to address the economic impact of the coronavirus.

“As an Association that represents employers in all sectors of the economy, MEA appealed for continuous social dialogue so that there will be sufficient manoeuvrability to re-design the assistance package as necessary to reflect continuous changing circumstances in different sectors,” the MEA said.

The Association said it remained committed to providing constant support for its members, as well as interacting with other social partners in order to reach the best outcome possible during these “dire” circumstances.

“The MEA will continue to urge employers to adopt strategies of job retention to keep any redundancies to a minimum. The package that was announced by Government is the result of consultation with the social partners and is proof that a collective effort is better than unilateral action.”

READ MORE:  Robert Abela unveils new coronavirus aid package: government will pay €800 monthly wage for workers in hard-hit sectors