AD comments on Workers Day
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“Workers day should remind us of the inequalities and hardships faced by various categories of workers. The recent deaths of workers at construction sites is a tragic example of this, AD said. At the same time, AD salutes the thousands of workers who have contributed to the development of Maltese society.”
Dr Harry Vassallo, Chairperson for AD said “whilst the standard of living and workers’ rights in Malta have improved in the past decades, many workers face difficult situations in terms of unemployment, discrimination, exploitation, unsafe working conditions and harassment”.
Dr Vassallo added “women, older workers, unskilled workers, workers with special needs and foreign workers are more likely to be disadvantaged in terms of work conditions and payment. The same can be said to workers who are working on a part-time or casual basis or on contract. Not all workers have the same rights enjoyed by others, especially by the unionised. In this regard, AD says that many employers still deny union membership to their employees”.
“Many women workers have the burden of the double shift, as they have to cope with housework and a full-time or part-time job. At the same time a sizeable amount of persons work long hours to cope with the standard of living, resulting in much stress” Dr Vassallo said.
“Many part-timers are denied certain rights of part-timers employed for 20 hours or more by being employed for less than 20 hours, or, even worse, by splitting their job into 2 or 3 titles, yet working more than 20 hours, but being denied such rights in the process” Dr Vassallo said
“Health and safety measures in certain places of work, including construction sites, are abysmal, especially when workers are employed irregularly”.
AD said that within the EU, Malta has the lowest employment rate, the lowest female employment rate, the lowest percentage of students in post-secondary education and one of the highest illiteracy rates. On the 3rd anniversary of Malta’s EU membership, this should serve as food for thought.
“Unless proper measures are taken, it is unlikely that Malta will reach the Lisbon Strategy targets of a 60% employment rate by 2010” Dr Vassallo said.
Dr Vassallo said “AD believes that much is still to be done to safeguard workers’ rights. This includes the need to ensure that the rights of workers are safeguarded by law, irrespective of their job status; further investment in education and training; promotion of family-friendly work practices and a shift from taxation on labour to taxation on environmentally harmful and unsustainable practices and products”.
“Together with the European Greens, AD is in favour of a European Social Model which is based on equality, sustainability, diversity, fairness, quality of life and anti-discrimination” concluded Dr Vassallo.