Unions take common stand on COLA situation / Malta News Briefing – Tuesday 20 September 2022

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Updated 1735 – Newsportal Review

The Times of Malta says that The Malta Chamber of SMEs is “ready to accept” the cost of living wage adjustment (COLA), even amid concerns this could be as high as €10, president Paul Abela said on Tuesday. 

Maltatoday reports that in a rare move, Unions are presenting a united front on how the cost of living adjustment should be applied in exceptional circumstances such as the current situation.

TVM News says that a 63-year old man from Qrendi and his 19-year old son, who lives in Mqabba, were remanded in custody after being accused of causing grievous injuries to a 42-year old man from Żurrieq.

Newsbook reveals that Princess Operations, owned by alleged kidnapper Christian Borg, was awarded a 24-vehicle tender by the Local Enforcement System Agency (LESA).

The Malta Independent follows a PN press conference in which the Opposition gave details on the start of the process to file class action lawsuit over utility bills.

Updated 1210

Low-income wages fall by 5% as inflation bites

Malta’s lowest paid workers were left short-changed as inflation bites, according to a study by the European Trade Union Council based on Eurostat data. The report suggests that low-income workers have seen the value of their wages fall by 5% this year, based on the change in the real minimum wage between the summer of 2021 and that of 2022 after taking inflation rates into account. An earlier study by Eurofound had already established that Maltese minimum wage earners had seen a 3% drop in their incomes between January 2021 and January 2022. The latest study indicates that the situation has worsened in the second quarter of 2022.

No exercise by one-third of Maltese

More than one-third of respondents from Malta told a Eurobarometer survey that they never practice any sport or undertake any physical exercise at all. Malta is also the only country where a majority of respondents say they seldom engage in other physical activity (39%). Respondents in Finland (71%), Luxembourg (63%), the Netherlands (60%), and Denmark and Sweden (59% in both countries) are the most likely to exercise or play sport at least once a week

Woman charged with money-laundering offences offering AML services

Lorraine Falzon, who is alleged to have helped former PM Chief of Staff Keith Schembri to launder money via a company called Zenith Finance, is now selling her services as an anti-money laundering expert. She currently stands accused of forming part of a professional money laundering set up, together with former company director Matthew Pace. The Times of Malta revealed that Falzon, whose assets are frozen, is now offering AML services on a consultancy basis. Zenith slapped with a €38,750 fine by the FIAU in 2018

Morning Briefing

PN to take legal action on overcharging in W&E bills

The PN has announced that it will be taking the government to court over overbilling in water and electricity rates. PN leader Bernard Grech reiterated the PN’s pledge that a future PN government will return all the extra payments families have been paying over the years. “This is institutionalized theft,” he said. A draft report by the Auditor General found overbilling by ARMS was costing consumers €6.5 million in “extra charges”. (Times of Malta)

Syrian charged with human trafficking

Police have brought human trafficking charges against a Syrian national, in an 8pm arraignment, as part of an ongoing investigation sparked by the arrival of a boatload of undocumented migrants from Libya in Delimara Bay. A 50-year-old, a Syrian national based in Malta was arraigned under arrest before duty magistrate Claire Stafrace Zammit on Monday night.(Maltatoday)

UoM committee clears Andrew Azzopardi of plagiarism

A University of Malta disciplinary committee has concluded that there was no plagiarism in the academic paper which was co-authored by the Dean of the Faculty for Social Wellbeing, Andrew Azzopardi. While the report said that a number of segments were incorrectly referenced, there was nothing indicating that Azzopardi was trying to take the work as his own. Azzopardi had acknowledged that the work failed to meet academic standards, but he rejected any allegations that this was an instance of wilful misdoing. (The Malta Independent)

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