Workers care about higher salaries, not statistics, Opposition MP tells minister

Claudio Grech urges improvement in workers' disposable income, warning that several current salaries 'not allowing workers to live lives in dignity'

Opposition MP Claudio Grech (Photo: Ray Attard)
Opposition MP Claudio Grech (Photo: Ray Attard)

Opposition MP Claudio Grech urged the government to improve the disposable income of workers, warning that many are being paid pittance.

“Workers don’t care about statistics but about their disposable income,” he said in Parliament. “Do the salaries granted to workers allow them to live lives in dignity?”

He claimed that some people were recently cut off the unemployment register to be placed in jobs with poor conditions.

“We don’t often hear about precarious work from the government anymore, but it is clear and present. You don’t give workers dignity by boasting about statistics but by improving their salaries and work conditions.

“We must stop simply repeating the mantra that the economy is performing well, and maturely discuss serious issues that effect the economy.”

Economy minister Chris Cardona retorted that the European Commission and the International Monetary Fund have both predicted private consumption to be a major factor in economic growth this year.

“Such predictions put to shame warnings of wage squeezes and lack of consumption.”

Earlier in the parliamentary session, Cardona had given a ministerial declaration in which he toasted a European Commission report that ranked Malta’s small businesses as registering the third highest employment growth between 2014 and 2016 in Europe.

SME employment grew by 5.6%, behind only Cyprus (15.8%) and Romania (7.2%). SME value on the island also grew by 13%, behind only Cyprus (20.5%), Romania (17.7%), and Latvia (15.3%).

“The report said that Malta was one of only seven EU countries achieved full recovery in all four sectors – services, construction, manufacturing and wholesale. These results give credit to the government’s economic policy to diversify the economy so as to maximize Malta’s economic potential.”

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