[WATCH] Government leaving 110,000 workers on a limb, Delia claims

Adrian Delia says that Prime Minister Robert Abela wants employers and workers 'to bear the burden of the collapse of the economy' 

Opposition leader Adrian Delia
Opposition leader Adrian Delia

Government was leaving in excess of 110,000 workers with no support in the current crisis, Opposition Leader Adrian Delia has claimed. 

Addressing his daily press conference, Delia noted that the latest package of measures announced by the government, the third in the space of a few days, was offering to pay 50% of the minimum wage for 60,000 workers, leaving 110,000 workers unaided. 

“This is a reactive and selective government,” Delia said, “which was reacting too late.” The new package was issued because the original was rejected by everyone, he said, claiming that Prime Minister Robert Abela wanted employers and workers “to bear the burden of the collapse of the economy.” 

“Yesterday I think everyone noticed that government changed its tune and made a U-turn,” Delia went on. He added that there were companies which already shed some of their workforces and this was why the U-turn was retroactive 

Out of around 25,000 self-employed people in Malta, only 7,000 will benefit from the measures, Delia warned. “The rest is left alone and in danger looking for help or support or hope but there is none,” he said. 

Delia added that to date there was no official reply on the guarantee mentioned in the second draft of measures for small businesses and self-employed. 

“Every day that passes is too late for many self-employed and small businesses,” he said. 

Delia accused Abela of dodging questions as to why he hasn’t yet reduced costs of utilities in view of record lows in international oil prices. ”We suggested a 50% reduction on utilities but the government said nothing. What kind of ties does the government have to hold back from doing this? Who is making a killing on the backs of the Maltese?” 

The government is being partisan, whilst opposition is making suggestions and working to make lives better, Delia said, claiming that the government had first made fun of some of the measures suggested by the PN, only to introduce them at a later stage. 
“I agree that the package given yesterday was late and not enough” 

He ended his discourse with a rallying call: “Let’s rise above politics...We have seen the realities on the ground. The government may not accept our proposals but we will continue to give them.” 

“The 110,000 who don’t know what’s going to happen to them need to know,” he said. 

“Some countries have made a guarantee that no one will lose their jobs because of the virus...this is the preparedness we expect from government.” 

“I am content that the government met social partners but this is not enough.” Yesterday the partners said the second meeting was more fruitful than the first, the Opposition Leader told reporters. 

Delia observed that the Foundation for Medical Services yesterday issued a three-day call for the purchase, delivery, and installation of a modular extendable pre-fabricated hospital which must be up and running within eight weeks. “If we need a prefabricated hospital we must make it because life is a priority, but the government knew for 80 days about this virus so why was a three-day tender suddenly issued?” 

“We already paid for [new hospitals] and it should have been done but hadn’t and that is a chilling shortcoming of the government,” Delia said, adding that “God forbid that in these circumstances we find that someone is abusing the system to enrich himself.”