Increase in minimum wage, essential for social development

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Alternattiva Demokratika – The Green Party said in a press conference held earlier today that an increase in the minimum wage is essential for social development and a healthy economy. AD said that it will not betray workers’ interests in the upcoming general election.

Michael Briguglio, AD Chairperson and spokesperson for Economic Policy, said, “The economics of cheap labour is regressive and outdated. It is appalling that Labour has betrayed workers and joined the bandwagon of those who pessimistically predict that only low wages can enhance competitiveness. They fail to have confidence in workers’ contribution to the economy, both in terms of production and consumption.

“Competitiveness is more likely to be influenced by a myriad of economic, political, social and ecological factors at national, regional and global levels.

“An increase in the minimum wage would help improve the quality of life of the workers and increase spending power. Such an increase would also encourage more people to enter the formal labour market, making work pay, and enhancing productivity. This would curb inflationary pressures.

“Well-paid workers, optimal use of natural resources such as sun and wind, and embracing technological change such as the IT revolution is what Malta’s economic vision should be all about, rather than cheap-labour economics of a bygone age, Michael Briguglio concluded.”

Angele Deguara, AD Spokesperson for Social Policy and Civil Rights added, “AD is the only party contesting the general elections which is for an increase in the minimum wage. We ally ourselves with trade unions like Forum, progressive organisations like Caritas, Zminijietna Voice of the Left, Moviment Graffitti and economists like Lino Spiteri and Karm Farrugia. A minimum wage increase is essential to avoid increasing poverty. As things stand, many workers cannot cope with the cost of living.

“The Green Party will surely not sell out to big business or betray workers’ interests. Indeed, our long-held official position on the minimum wage is that it should increase and should be extended to part-time and contractual workers.

“We are also proposing a realistic assessment of the cost of living adjustment in order that the yearly compensation truly reflects the rise in inflation. Hence, an updated methodology should replace the current one on which COLA is based.

“AD’s manifesto will also include policies to help curb price hikes,” Angele Deguara concluded.

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