UHM presents Budget 2022 proposals

UĦM Voice of the Workers has presented over 100 proposals for the 2022 Budget including measures to strike Malta off the grey list, to fight precarious employment and raise the quality of life

UHM Chief Executive Josef Vella
UHM Chief Executive Josef Vella

UĦM Voice of the Workers has presented over 100 proposals for the 2022 Budget including measures to strike Malta off the grey list, to fight precarious employment and raise the quality of life.

Addressing a news conference, UĦM Chief Executive Josef Vella said that the forthcoming Budget should not be a series of technical measures but convey a strong message from the Government that it has the will to root out wrong practices and abuses.

“The greylisting is a consequence of all this, and if we really want to get off this list, Government must take action on issues like the power station and the hospitals deals

However, if Government takes cosmetic measures rather than address these problems to the core, it will be the investors, workers, families, pensioners and young people who will suffer the consequences,” Vella said.

He also referred to the case of a construction worker who was dumped at the side of a road in Selmun suffering from serious injuries after allegedly injuring himself at work. While condemning such act, the UĦM CEO said that this appalling incident could have been avoided had the Government implemented the employment contracts portal proposal, which the union has been harping on since 2016. This portal is a powerful took to fight against workers’ exploitation.

Key proposals

  • Greylisting - Need for concrete action to get off the list and restore Malta’s reputation. Responsibility needs to be borne not only by citizens but by all those directly involved. The setting up of a training academy for members of the diplomatic corps who are crucial to restore the reputation around the world is a must. Moreover, ambassadors should no longer be appointed on the strength of their cozy relationship with the party in government but on their diplomatic credentials.
  • COLA - The mechanism to measure the cost of living allowance which has been in place for decades must be revised so that it truly reflects today’s needs.
  • Active Labour Market Policy - The new active labour market policy must be drafted in consultation with workers and unions. It needs to address the challenges brought about by the rise in the employment participation rate which is resulting in less quality time for families and consequently in a decline in the quality of life.
  • Contracts portal - UĦM will keep insisting for the setting up of an internet portal hosting all employment contracts as part of its commitment to fight precarious employment. This portal will ensure there are no contracts containing illegal provisions or clauses which are in breach of the law. Government had promised to implement this proposal in the 2016 Budget.
  • Mandatory union membership for workers earning less than the median wage.
  • Implementation of the EU Directive on the right to disconnect.
  • Remote Working - a proposal to operate a hybrid system which comprises a combination of both remote and traditional approaches as well as measures to prevent remote workers from losing benefits such as bonuses or allowances.
  • Working Hours – UĦM is proposing a study into the possibility of reducing the 40-hour week. This idea comes in the wake of the experience in some countries where such measure had a positive impact as it resulted in higher productivity despite a reduction in the working hours.
  • Family friendly measures – Employees should benefit from these measures without hassle and without suffering losses in their take-home pay.
  • Trade Schools - These schools should be re-established to address the issue of early school leavers and the shortage of manual skilled labour which Malta is facing.
  • Government as an employer - Government needs to be the one setting the example on good work practices but currently this is not the case in view of its policy to outsource core services to contractors. Employees of these contractors are being given inferior conditions to their colleagues on Government’s books despite doing the same job. The policy of outsourcing core services should be abolished as it is giving rise to abuse.
  • Gozo – Reduction in fast ferry fares for Gozitan workers. Government’s policy of recruiting everybody on the State payroll is harming the labour market on the sister island as this is creating an acute shortage of workers for the private sector and potential investors.
  • Hospitals and power station – Government must take back control of these entities as there is ample evidence showing that these deals were daylight robbery.

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