Josef Vella, CEO of U}M Voice of the Workers
The topmost priority, Mr Vella says, is the introduction of compensation, which would be added to the annual government bonus, for ‘missed’ public holidays. This proposal would have a positive impact because it adds to workers’ income which will result in increased spending, while not having a negative impact on productivity.
He also mentions the introduction of a living wage that would serve to guide collective agreement negotiations as well social policy decisions. “A living wage would provide an income that is representative of families’ expenses. The UĦM also wants cooperatives as a model of doing business, a harsher fight against precarious work and second-pillar pensions.”
On the economic scenario question, Mr Vella says the UĦM is also calling for an updated household budgetary survey, arguing that while economic growth stands at 3.5%, inflation remained relatively low. “The inflation rate is based on the last such survey which occurred in 2008. UĦM urges the government to conclude the 2015 Household Budgetary Survey. This affects union negotiations when the COLA is included in wage contract negotiations.”
Mr Vella named a proposal by the CMTU on good governance in public procurement. “There needs to be more transparency in the process and the owners, ie, the citizens of Malta, must be aware of all current contracts. All contracts should be deposited in parliament for public scrutiny without exception. In line with European Commission guidance, shell companies, use of fiduciaries where the true identity of the investors is hidden should be prohibited from bidding for public contracts.”
On the traffic situation, the UĦM CEO said the number of cars on the road has remained the same, regardless of the increase in public transport passengers. “UĦM urges government to keep working on the issue to help reduce the number of cars on the road.”