28 June 2006

The Web
Business Today

Chamber calls for national interest to prevail on public holidays

The Malta Chamber of Commerce and Enterprise supports the appeal made by other employers’ organisations, stressing the importance of heeding the national interest by all the stakeholders, including workers’ representatives on the issue of public holidays.
Chamber Director-General Kevin J. Borg said: “The Chamber also supports the Prime Minister’s determined stance that government will seek other avenues to ensure that our economy remains competitive, even if this would entail the elimination of some public holidays. Other options are not perceived reasonable enough by the Chamber, either because they would run counter to the ILO opinion or because they are complicated and discriminatory.”
The public holidays measure was included in the 2005 budget, with a view to stimulate national competitiveness and act as investment attraction.
“Indeed, before establishing themselves in Malta, many European and other international investors benchmark the number of public/national holidays and leave entitlement amongst other criteria. No country or company owes Malta a living. Capital is free to move across the EU 25 member states and beyond and will only settle where the largest profits can be made, in the shortest space of time and with less harassment,” Borg said.
The Chamber Director-General insisted that workers in the private sector were those who were mostly feeling the pressures of international competition. “They would be likely to make small sacrifices if this meant that their jobs were being safeguarded. It is vital that workers in other sectors show their solidarity. It is important to underline that this is an issue of economic and competitive restructuring which must go on continuously. This is about understanding how change can transform us into a better workforce and a better platform from where business is made,” Borg said.

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