“Whenever a policy is being discussed at the European level Malta takes the global dimension into consideration in order to safeguard the country’s and the EU’s international competitiveness.”
This was stated by the Minister for Finance Edward Scicluna when addressing a conference organised by the European Trade Union Confederation (ETUC) together with the GWU, with the theme ‘How Trade Unions of the European Capital Cities can approach the issue of pay rise’.
Professor Scicluna said that Malta has a long-established social dialogue that extends beyond industrial relations, especially through the Malta Council for Economic and Social Development (MCESD), a forum bringing together the main social partners in Malta. One of the landmarks in industrial relations in Malta is the Incomes Policy Agreement of the early nineties, which led to the establishment of the Cost of Living Adjustment (COLA) mechanism. This mechanism has contributed to anchor expectations for minimum wage increases, thus ensuring that social concerns relative to the wages of unskilled labour are reconciled with competitiveness. This mechanism has contributed to industrial peace over the years.
The Minister stated that during the pre-Budget and Budget processes, a number of consultation meetings with the constituted bodies and civil society are held. Trade unions face challenges from globalisation and international competition, technological changes, the sharing economy and automation, demographic changes through migration and an ageing workforce, and the impact of climate change on jobs and the environment.
Minister Scicluna stated that, ‘Malta, today, is a cosmopolitan country and everybody has come to accept it, with European and non-European migrants contributing their share to Malta’s economic growth.’
The conference was also addressed Luca Visentini, General Secretary of the European Trade Union Confederation.