MP accuses government of ‘turning blind eye’ to plight of De La Rue workers

Carm Mifsud Bonnici urges government to step in for the 300 De La Rue employees who are waiting for the sack, warns of 'worrying' trend of foreigners taking up low-paying jobs 

Opposition MP Carm Mifsud Bonnici lashed out at the government for failing to safeguard the rights of De La Rue workers, accusing it of having agreed with the securities company behind closed doors to turn a blind eye on their plight.

De La Rue announced in December that it will lay off 300 of the 550 workers currently employed in its Malta branch, after deciding to phase out the printing of banknotes on the island. It will also invest around €21 million in equipment and skills to create a new centre for excellence at its current site in Malta.

“I suspect, and I hope that I’m wrong, that De La Rue has come to an agreement with government for it to turn a blind eye on its intention to fire Maltese employees and replace them with foreigners who are willing to work on lower wages and in worse conditions,” Mifsud Bonnici said in a parliamentary speech during a debate on this year’s Budget. “These poor workers dedicated their lives working for one of the strongest manufacturing companies on the islands, and they still don’t know what’s to become of their futures two months since De La Rue’s announcement.  

“Why isn’t the government getting down and dirty and fighting for their rights? Can you imagine how Labour would have acted if they were still in Opposition and this news had broken under a PN government?”

The former Nationalist home affairs minister struck a particularly socialist tone in his speech, calling for significant increases in pensions and salaries, and warning that foreigners are immigrating to Malta to take up low-paying jobs.

“30,000 foreigners are now working full-time in Malta, which is incredibly worrying, but of course the government doesn’t care because it looks good in its employment statistics.

“The previous government worked and suffered and made it through the 2008 financial crisis to help the Maltese people, and instead the new jobs are being taken up by foreigners.”

Moreover, he hit out at the “lax regulation” over certain shops opened by “foreigners” in Malta that “employ people on the black market and aren’t registered for VAT and income tax”.

Mifsud Bonnici also called out the government for “propagating a myth” over the high employment rate of women.

“The majority of women finding jobs are working as cleaners or otherwise low-paying jobs,” he said.

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