Joseph Muscat in European pitch over manufacturing jobs

Prime Minister inaugurates customer experience centre at Crane Currency • Company now employs 350 people

Joseph Muscat inaugurating a new facility at Crane Currency
Joseph Muscat inaugurating a new facility at Crane Currency

Joseph Muscat has urged the EU to protect the jobs of people working in the manufacturing industry, insisting that Malta's strategy in this regard was sending a message to Europe.

The Prime Minister was speaking on Wednesday at the inauguration of a new facility at the Crane Currency factory in Hal Far.

He used the occasion to pitch for manufacturing jobs in the EU, a statement that underscores the Prime Minister’s ambition to get a top European post after the European Parliament election in May.

At the inauguration, Muscat emphasised the need for more skilled workers in the labour force, adding that Malta could not remain reactive.

He said it was important for the industry, and companies like Crane, to help in training potential workers and to contribute in the development of academic programmes related to their industries.

“Malta is sending a message to Europe that it can be competitive in the manufacturing industry. Europe on the other hand needs to send a clear signal that it will protect the jobs of hundreds of thousands of workers who earn their livelihoods from large manufacturing companies who operate within our market,” Muscat said.

Largest new investment in Malta since ST

Muscat told company management and staff he was delighted to be present for “yet another milestone” and that he looked forward to the next expansion.

Crane, he said, had been in Malta for a short but intense period of time, within which it had managed to develop one of the most advanced currency facilities in the world.

“Not only is it delivering on its commitments but is exceeding expectations,” he said.

The new Centre will be used by Crane to allow its customers to have more input in the design of bank notes.

Muscat said the was proud of the fact that Crane had chosen Malta, insisting that it was no small gesture that the company was inviting its clients to visit Malta.

Crane’s investment - the largest greenfield investment in the past 30 years according to the Prime Minister - had led not only to the development of a new facility, but also of the industry, which up until a few years ago looked to be on the way out.

“People [who worked in the industry] used to come to my office with fears that they would lose their job. Now I have companies coming and pleading for more skilled workers,” he said.

Muscat stressed that the company had projected employing some 200 people, but had already exceeded by almost double, employing roughly 350 at present.

“To put this into context, there were 579 people employed in the sector in 2013. Now, in 2019, there are over 800,” Muscat said, describing Crane as one of the island’s best employers.

Muscat said the investment was a testament to the excellent relationship between Malta and the United States.

Annemarie Watson, currency president at Crane, expressed her satisfaction at the opening of the final part of the facility.

The new centre, she said, would "deepen Crane's relationship with Central Bank customers”, adding that it would allow for a further optimisation of banknotes by providing an environment designed to inspire innovation.

The company, she said, boasted the industry's most modern equipment, capable of the latest security features.

The fact that the facility had been designed from scratch, Watson said, meant that it had been designed in a manner that optimises workflow.

She thanked all those who had helped in the facility's development, adding that one of the reasons the company had chosen Malta, in addition to its skilled workforce, was the country's "pro-business" government.