Five persons in Court today as proceedings on Sofia death commence / Malta News Briefing – Wednesday 9 August 2023

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Updated 1220

Quarter of Maltese workforce unable to afford vacation

Data collected by the European trade unions lobby reveals that a quarter of the workforce in Malta is unable to afford a summer vacation. According to Eurostat data, the cost of package holidays, which are designed to offer economical travel options for domestic or international getaways, surged by 12.4% across the European Union between January and May. This comes after an 11.5% increase observed in the previous year. These figures represent the most substantial escalation in the cost of package holidays since records were first kept in 1996. Prior to the previous year, the highest annual surge was 7.2% in 2015. An analysis conducted by the European Trade Union Confederation unveiled that in Malta, the average cost of a package holiday has risen by a minimum of €277 since 2017, reaching just over €1,360. (Maltatoday)

Five persons in Court today as proceedings on Sofia death commence

Five individuals charged with responsibility for the demise of 20-year-old laborer Jean Paul Sofia were scheduled to appear in court on Wednesday morning to initiate the legal proceedings against them. The accused include developers Kurt Buhagiar and Matthew Schembri, architect Adriana Zammit, contractor Milomir Jovicevic, and Dijana Jovicevic, the spouse of the contractor and co-director of the company. They have all entered a plea of not guilty in relation to the charges of involuntary manslaughter of Sofia and causing injuries to five others. The quintet had various roles in the construction project at the Corradino Industrial Estate, which tragically collapsed in December 2022, resulting in the entrapment of Sofia under the debris. (Times of Malta)

8.4% increase in full-time employees

In March, the count of officially registered full-time employees tallied at 267,970, reflecting an uptick of 8.4% when compared to the corresponding month in the previous year. Data unveiled by the National Statistics Office reveals that the tally of individuals engaged in part-time work as their primary occupation reached 33,227, marking a rise of 3.6% in comparison to the same month the prior year. Within the private sector, the count of individuals employed in full-time roles underwent a surge of 10.7% over the course of a year, now reaching 216,982. (TVM)

Morning Briefing

Nurses to vote on new sectoral agreement

The members of the Malta Union of Midwives and Nurses (MUMN) will be presented with a new sectoral agreement for approval, as suggested by the Government. This comes as a response to the outcome of an extraordinary general meeting held in April, during which 785 out of 804 attending members voted against the initial financial proposal put forth by the Government. A fresh vote is scheduled for Friday to decide on the acceptance of the new sectoral agreement. Prior to the vote, the MUMN Council will provide its members with an explanation of the terms outlined in the new agreement.

Address debt burden and stop squandering money, PN tells Govt

The Nationalist Party has called upon the government to take measures to preserve Malta’s financial sustainability, as official statistics reveal a daily increase of €2 million in the national debt and a weekly debt-serving cost of nearly €4 million. In an official statement, Jerome Caruana Cilia, the shadow finance minister, highlighted that as of the end of June, the national debt had reached €9.2 billion, marking a rise of €756.8 million compared to June 2022. The PN quoted NSO data showing that by end 2019, the national debt had stood at €5.7 billion. This indicates that the government under Robert Abela’s leadership had contributed to a debt increase of around €3.5 billion, bringing it to the current €9.2 billion. Consequently, over a third of the entire national debt can be attributed to the actions of the Abela administration.

Chief Justice revokes interim order that released contractor from jail

The Court of Constitutional Appeal has reversed a unique directive that granted freedom to a convicted construction contractor while his constitutional lawsuit, alleging that his imprisonment violated his rights, awaits a hearing and verdict. A panel of three judges led by Chief Justice Mark Chetcuti disagreed with the initial court’s ruling, stating that it should have prioritized the expedited hearing of the Constitutional case to facilitate a swifter resolution. “Given these circumstances, expediting the Constitutional case’s hearing would have been a more appropriate approach compared to suspending the enforcement of a court-imposed sentence.” Paul Demicoli, one of the two individuals incarcerated for negligence resulting in the deaths of two women due to a building collapse during excavation on an adjacent plot in St. Paul’s Bay, had been granted temporary release from custody through a rare interim court order. (Maltatoday)

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