Do not contribute to negative
mood, government tells social partners
By Kurt Sansone
Government yesterday asked the social partners to tone down their criticism
so as not to contribute to the negative mood prevailing in the country
and despite being described as positive, the two-hour meeting at Castille
produced no date for the beginning of talks on the new social and economic
pact to address the countrys competitiveness.
Talking to The Malta Financial and Business Times after the meeting,
Deputy Prime Minister Lawrence Gonzi said the social pact was discussed
however no deadline for the talks to start was set. "The social
pact was mentioned as a key aspect to help the country move ahead and
win the race of competitiveness.
We agreed that we should start discussing the issue with urgency to
implement the necessary measures. No deadline has been set but the message
is that the social pact should be a priority on the MCESDs agenda,"
Dr Gonzi said.
The issue of competitiveness is at the heart of the current spate of
Meanwhile, after the meeting, GRTU director general Vince Farrugia reiterated
his organisations stand against bureaucracy, which he described
as "too heavy" and "slow to respond."
"Everybody has to do his part to tackle the current employment
situation but more importantly, the civil service has to have a mentality
that it is not just regulation that brings about change but entrepreneurship.
Maltas prospects are good but we have to work to achieve a better
future. We cannot go on talking about the problems, government has to
act. We have to streamline bureaucracy, it is too heavy and slow to
respond," Mr Farrugia said.
Talking on the steps leading up to Castille under a warm winter sun,
Mr Farrugia said government had asked the social partners to be careful
of not adding to the black clouds already on the horizon. Being negative
is not psychologically good for the country, was governments message
to the social partners.
When asked what he meant by "black clouds", Mr Farrugia said
government was concerned there was too much emphasis on the negative
aspects, in part fuelled by unemployment rather than positive things.
Malta Employers Association secretary general Joe Farrugia described
the meeting as positive and insisted that the last thing employers wanted
was to cut jobs. "We talked about the current situation concerning
unemployment. Together with the other social partners we believe the
country can overcome the current situation."
The meeting at Castille was attended by Prime minister Eddie Fenech
Adami, ministers Lawrence Gonzi, John Dalli and Francis Zammit Dimech
and the social partners; the GRTU, the Malta Employers Association,
the Chamber of Commerce, the Federation of Industry and the Malta Hotels
and Restaurants Association.