Malta insists on flexibility in EU minimum wage discussions

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Malta has always believed that whilst all workers are to have adequate wages, the European Commission’s proposal has to reflect national realities, and that any agreement at an EU level has to respect the autonomy of social partners as well as the principle of collective bargaining.

Minister Carmelo Abela, participating at a Council meeting that was held in Luxembourg, explained that whilst Malta believes in the principle that all workers must have adequate pay, this proposal needs to be flexible, and emphasised that any agreement on a European level must also respect the autonomy of social partners and the principle of collective bargaining.

He explained that due to Malta’s small size, it is important that the final agreement gives Malta the possibility to move forward and adapt the provisions of the final directive to the needs of Malta’s labour market. 

Minister Abela highlighted the importance of social dialogue and how the Maltese Government has increased its importance, through means such as a dedicated ministerial portfolio, as well as consultations with other institutions such as the MCESD and the Employment Relations Board. He mentioned that the pandemic has given self-employed workers and platform economy workers new challenges and said that Malta believes that all workers are to be more protected and have strengthened working conditions, irrespective of the type of work they do.

On the Action Plan of the European Pillar of Social Rights agreed last month in Porto, Minister Abela said that the agreed targets help in addressing socio-economic challenges that emerged during the pandemic and help maintain the quality of jobs. In this regard, the minister emphasised that meeting the collective headline targets requires a strong commitment from all stakeholders to ensure the principles of social justice and equality. 

Minister Carmelo Abela also addressed equality and explained that the Maltese Government strongly believes in gender equality, irrespective of religion or belief, disability, age, or sexual orientation. The Maltese Government will continue working at a European level for more equality and less discrimination so that all citizens can secure a better quality of life and embrace equal opportunities.