FOI deems national wages policy a
The Federation of Industry this week expressed grave concern over the
results of a recent Eurostat study that highlighted Maltas minimum
wage standing against some EU member states and fellow candidate countries.
The study reported that Slovenia and Malta had national minimum wages
which, broadly speaking, were at the same level as those in Portugal
and Spain respectively. The monthly minimum wages in Slovenia and in
Malta were of EUR451 and EUR535 respectively.
In contrast, in the other accession countries the monthly minimum wage
ranged from EUR116 in Latvia to EUR212 in Hungary.
In order to remove the effect of price level differences, the exercise
also converts the monthly minimum wages expressed in the national currencies
to an artificial common currency called Purchasing Power Standard (PPS).
When applying these Purchasing Power Parities to the analysis, the picture
becomes even more of concern for, in addition to the fact that the monthly
minimum wages for Malta remain notably higher than those of the other
Accession Countries, Maltas monthly minimum wage (752 PPS) also
ranks higher than those of Portugal (543 PPS), Spain (617 PPS), and
Greece (725 PPS).
The FOI reminds how it has repeatedly stressed the importance of a national
wages policy that makes economic sense - safeguarding the competitiveness
of our enterprises and therefore workers jobs.
The Federation comments, "In this context the FOI must again state
that it does not agree with the law that makes it mandatory on employers
to grant each worker the cost of living increase laid down by Government
every year independently of and in addition to the wage increases negotiated
by collective agreement with the Trade Unions.
"The FOI seriously questions whether this situation is sustainable
in the coming years. It appeals to the social partners to re-assess
the position as a matter of urgency if enterprise is to remain competitive
and jobs safeguarded in the coming years."