Briguglio discusses pensions, cost of living, and workers’ rights with UHM

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Briguglio discusses pensions, cost of living, and workers' rights with UHMPN MEP candidate Dr Michael Briguglio, has discussed pensions, cost of living and workers’ rights, during a recent meeting with UHM Voice of the Workers delegation which was led by CEO Josef Vella.

As one of the authors of the PN’s budgetary document, Briguglio said that he fully agreed with UHM’s proactive approach to evidence-based policymaking. Adding that in the past he consistently supported UHM proposals related to budgetary proposals, active labour market measures, decent work and sustainable pensions.

He pointed out that “a clear example of this is the Union’s position for 2nd pillar pensions, or ‘youth pensions’ (as defined by Josef Vella).”

“Malta needs to stop being escapist on the need for sustainable pensions for future pensioners, and this requires a planned, systematic and scholarly approach. In this regard, it is commendable that UHM is currently conducting a study with its members on 2nd pillar pensions,” Briguglio said.

Discussions also covered what they described as “the current plight” of pensioners and workers with regard to the increase in cost of living, both insisting on the need for an updated method to calculate the Cost of Living Adjustment (COLA).

“In this regard one should note that Malta’s government reports the HICP (Harmonised Index of Consumer Prices) to the EU but then compensates workers through COLA,” they said.

The PN MEP candidate also commended UHM’s approach for better economic planning through which increase in productivity should lead to wage increases. “Malta currently seems to be focusing more on short term quantitative economic measures,” he said.

Briguglio explained that, “these need to be matched with qualitative measures such as the need to upskill workers and to have sustainable policies that to discourage early-school leaving.” This is even more important given the demand for skilled workers within the Maltese labour market, he said.

Josef Vella emphasised the need to reduce discrepancies between economic sectors by incentivising decent jobs in sectors such as tourism, where the average wage is rather low.

Briguglio and Vella also discussed the current situation at the Malta Council for Economic and Social Development (MCESD), which, they said, “needs to be independent of Government so that its agenda is set according to the needs of the various social partners, and not according to shorter-term political requirements.”

Michael Briguglio also expressed his support of the UHM’s proposal to introduce a nation-wide portal against precarious work. He said that in this regard, “a gap exists between legislation on paper and actual enforcement.”

Briguglio concluded that, “clear example of this is when workers are forced to register as self-employed by their employers and when they have no available work contract. This can be remedied through a just-in-time online portal with standardised work contract requirements as per current legislation. Its data would be available to authorities, employers and workers.”

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