Nurses reject Government offer – no industrial action, for now / Malta News Briefing – Wednesday 19 April 2023

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Nurses reject Government offer – no industrial action, for now

Nurses and midwives have rejected a government pay offer, the Malta Union of Midwives and Nurses (MUMN) said. In a brief statement, the Union said 97.6% had voted ‘No’ to the government’s financial package at an extraordinary general meeting attended by 804 nurses and midwives. During a press conference this morning, the MUMN leadership said that it will not immediately take industrial action after rejecting government’s pay and work proposals. “We will give government another chance to get back with improved proposals,” Paul Pace said. The union did not give the minister any timeframe but expected a meeting to be held as early as next week. (Times of Malta/Maltatoday)

No decision yet by EC on Air Malta – Minister

Finance Minister Clyde Caruana insisted that the European Commission has not as yet taken any definite decision regarding the future of the national airline Air Malta. Reacting to media reports suggesting that the national airline was folding down later this year, Minister Caruana confirmed that the Government and Air Malta are presently holding discussions with the European Commission, adding that another meeting is scheduled in a fortnight’s time. In comments to the national broadcaster, Caruana added that the European Commission has studied Air Malta’s operation and its financial strengths over the years, and it needs more information in order to be able to allow the Maltese Government do what is necessary for the country to have a national airline. In a reaction, the Nationalist Party said that Finance Minister Clyde Caruana sowed false hope and lied to employees of Air Malta before the election. (TVM)

No interest on loans for EVs

Bank of Valletta and APS Bank will offer an interest rate of 0% for those who will take a loan to invest in an electric or hybrid vehicle and initiatives in favour of energy efficiency and renewable energy. The 0% interest rate is possible through the EERE financial instrument under the European Regional Development Fund, where a total of €15 million have been allocated for this scheme. The scheme consists of a portfolio guarantee and a subsidy in the interest rate for 10 years, which will help to offer an interest rate of 0% for those who will take a loan. (Newsbook)

Morning Briefing

Kitchen Cabinet did not exist – Keith Schembri

Former OPM Chief of Staff Keith Schembri dismissed claims that there was an inner circle within Castille that took certain decisions during the tenure of former PM Joseph Muscat. Ex-finance minister Edward Scicluna had described this inner circle as a “kitchen cabinet”. Schembri says that as finance minister, Scicluna would have been involved in major decisions. “There was no kitchen cabinet”, Schembri told a Public Accounts Committee hearing. (Times of Malta)

Malta-Gozo travel substantially up in Q1-2023
Travel between Malta and Gozo increased substantially in the first three months of 2023 when compared to the previous years, even as the fast ferry operators drastically reduced the number of journeys between Mġarr and Valletta. National Statistics Office figures show that 1,254,008 passengers and 439,784 vehicles travelled between Malta and Gozo between January and March this year, with the figures representing an increase of 21.8% and 8.2% respectively over the corresponding period of 2022. (Newsbook)

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