Address labour shortage before reducing foreigners – ACE / Malta News Briefing – Friday 1 September 2023

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Address labour shortage before reducing foreigners – ACE

The catering industry has cautioned government that before implementing reductions in the foreign workforce in Malta, a comprehensive strategy should be devised to address the existing shortage of potential employees. This advice comes in light of Prime Minister Robert Abela’s recent statement that the government will not endorse businesses solely reliant on importing foreign labour. Omar Vella, Secretary of the Association of Catering Establishments insisted that any abrupt or stringent measures taken in response could have substantial consequences for a sector already grappling with employee shortages. While ACE acknowledges the existence of abuse within the system and agrees that corrective action is necessary, rash decisions may jeopardize the sector, he added. (Times of Malta)

MUMN want toughened security in ward hosting alleged murderer

The Malta Union of Midwives and Nurses (MUMN) has issued guidelines regarding the treatment of a patient, Abner Aquilina, who is facing charges related to the murder of Paulina Dembska. MUMN’s statement emphasizes that it is evident that the management at Mt. Carmel Hospital failed to provide the necessary security measures for caring for Aquilina.
Aquilina has entered a plea of not guilty in the murder case of the 29-year-old Polish student, and his legal team is seeking to have him declared legally insane. During pre-trial proceedings, Magistrate Marse-Ann Farrugia granted a request from the defense to return Aquilina to a regular ward at Mount Carmel Hospital, as initially ordered by the court last year. MUMN’s directives stipulate that a minimum of two police officers or two prison guards must be present with such a patient around the clock. Additionally, the union has called for the relocation of all other patients from Aquilina’s ward. (Maltatoday)

Increasing taxes on cars is most effective way to alleviate traffic, former PM says
Former Labour Prime Minister Alfred Sant said that the most effective way to alleviate the traffic issue is by implementing substantial taxes on cars and driving, with the aim of encouraging people to shift towards more efficient public transportation. However, he acknowledges that such a solution would likely be viewed as politically untenable. “Such a solution would be considered as political suicide and will be discarded on the basis of claims that it is socially unjust, since in the main, it would affect negatively low income earners”, he argued. (TMI)

Morning Briefing

More than a quarter of dwellings are unoccupied – NSO

During the last ten years, Malta has witnessed a remarkable surge in the number of dwellings, but the latest census data indicates that only about 72.5% of these residences were occupied throughout the entire year. NSO data for 2021 reveals a total of 297,304 dwellings, showcasing a substantial increase of 32.8% since 2011 and a fourfold rise over a century. Of this total, a little more than a quarter – equivalent to 81,613 dwellings (27.5%) – remained unoccupied throughout the entire year. These unoccupied residences are categorized as secondary, seasonally utilized, or vacant dwellings. The National Statistics Office highlighted that between 2011 and 2021, the consistent growth of 7,345 new dwellings annually represents the most significant intercensal expansion documented to date. (Times of Malta)

BA calls for sensitivity on reporting suicides

The Broadcasting Authority has issued a plea to television and radio broadcasters to approach the topic of suicide with utmost sensitivity. In an official statement, the BA recognized the growing prominence of suicide as a subject of discussion. It emphasized the need for cautious treatment of this topic due to the potential far-reaching consequences that its portrayal in broadcasts could have. From a legal perspective, the BA highlighted that the mention of suicide should generally be avoided, with only rare exceptions allowed. Referring to a legal notice addressing this matter, the BA underscored the significance of withholding specific details about suicide, especially when presenting new aspects that might be imitated. The authority stressed the importance of choosing words thoughtfully when describing such incidents, as the impact of suicide extends beyond the individual who commits it, affecting those in their surroundings as well. As a result, the BA urged broadcasters to exercise extreme sensitivity in their treatment of this subject, both in language and visuals, to prevent exacerbating pain for all parties involved. (TVM)

Maltese Language Council challenges legality of Norma Saliba’s appointment

The Council for the Maltese Language, a governmental body consisting of language experts responsible for promoting the national language, is preparing to take legal action against Arts Minister Owen Bonnici for neglecting to consult the Council regarding the appointment of the new CEO. Norma Saliba, a former head of news at TVM, was directly chosen by Bonnici to serve as the CEO through a legal notice establishing the Centre for the Maltese Language, an entity under the Council. The Council argued that Bonnici’s actions violate Article 24 of the same law, which mandates prior consultation with the Council before issuing regulations. In a statement, the Ministry refuted the allegations and said it had consulted directly with the President of the National Council. (Maltatoday)

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