Cost-of-living increase makes minimum wage revision a priority, ADPD

ADPD Chairperson Carmel Cacopardo says those earning a minimum wage are poor, short of a decent standard of living

ADPD Chairperson Carmel Cacopardo has said the increase in cost-of-living should make minimum wage revision a priority.

“Those earning a minimum wage are clearly the poor. Government must not delay any longer to review how the minimum wage is calculated,” Cacopardo said in a press conference on Saturday.

“Minimum wages can be considered adequate when they are fair vis-à-vis the wages of other workers and when they provide a decent standard of living, taking into account general economic conditions in the country.”

Cacopardo stated Malta is one of the countries opposing a mandatory EU Directive addressing the adequacy of the minimum wage.

He said the Green Party had repeatedly insisted on the need to replace the current basket of goods and services used to determine the minimum wage.

Cacopardo mentioned the budget proposal to address the needs of vulnerable persons not addressed by the COLA (Cost of Living Adjustment), which he said remained only a promise.

“The minimum wage, at 2020 prices, is 40% below the minimum threshold of a decent wage. Those earning a minimum wage are clearly the working poor. The minimum wage is not a living wage,” Cacopardo said in reference to various Caritas Malta studies.

ADPD candidate and deputy secretary-general Sandra Gauci said everybody was aware that the living costs are rising from one day to the next, and that the lower income earners’ spending power is being diminished and fails to provide for the basic necessities.

“Among the factors contributing to this are the stoppages and production delays caused by COVID and the transportation impacted by lockdowns and quarantine measures in countries Malta imports from such as Italy. Another factor is the transportation costs”

She said transportation costs rose by as much as four times for the same container weight and that this is reflecting itself in prices.

Gauci emphasised that although the government can do very little with respect to those price increases imposed from abroad it could still intervene locally, by controlling the transport costs of food and medicine.

“The COLA mechanism should be revised to include essential items such as face masks and sanitizers. The use of IT is essential in today’s world and cost of internet access, mobiles and laptops should also be included in the basket of daily needs.”

“Being online today is essential especially in the current circumstances when many services are being delivered online including shopping,” Gauci insisted.