COLA should be awarded twice a year, says ADPD

The Green party says drastic increase in food prices, amplifies need for a decent basic living income

(File Photo)
(File Photo)

ADPD the Green Party called for the Cost-of-Living Adjustment (COLA) to be awarded twice a year and not be tied to the end of year budget announcement only.

In a press conference on Saturday morning in Ħamrun, ADPD Chairperson Carmel Cacopardo said the need for a decent basic living income was amplified by rising prices of essential goods, like bread, milk, pasta and butter.

He said three published Caritas revealed a widening gap between the official minimum wage and the decent basic living income needed by three different categories of vulnerable households. Cacopardo said that in the case of a household consisting of two adults and two children, this gap is approximately 40%, at 2020 prices. 

"The minimum wage is not a living wage," Cacopardo said. He explained that the cost of living adjustments to wages and pensions are effective at the beginning of the calendar year, and reflect the cost of living of the previous twelve months.

"ADPD is of the opinion that the cost of living adjustments to the minimum wage as well as to pensions should be carried out twice a year, towards the end of June and towards the end of December.  In times of steep price increases, as at present, such an initiative could make a substantial difference to the vulnerable and those on low income," Cacopardo said.

"It is also essential that the basket of goods and services utilised to measure the actual cost of living is updated on a regular basis in order to ensure that the results obtained are realistic and reflect actual needs."

ADPD Deputy Secretary General and candidate Sandra Gauci said the increase in prices affected daily necessities such as food, with vulnerable people are being overburdened.

She emphasised this is hard on those dependent on minimum wages, who have to cater for food allergies or those with babies and infants.

"Although government cannot control what happens abroad it can take the required mitigating measures in Malta," Gauci said.

She said those who are are struggling and trying to make ends meet on a wage, cannot accept that others close to government ministers have €163,000 contracts, as in the case of the CEO of the Foundation for Medical Services.

"Instead of ensuring that you are using the country’s resources diligently such action is insulting the honest worker who only gets €1.75 increase while government spends lavishly on their close friends. We are insisting that in the present circumstances of spiralling costs of essential commodities the COLA increase should be awarded twice a year,” Gauci said.