The European Union has sidelined poverty issues for too long and it’s weakening the quality of life for its citizens, MEP Alfred Sant warned.
After voting in favour of a report to reduce inequalities in the European Parliament, Sant warned that decisive change is needed to reverse a growing trend of poverty in an economy based on low-grade jobs.
The report focused on addressing in-work poverty, a crisis that has been fuelled by decades of austerity policies and more recently the COVID-19 pandemic.
“At this point, the report’s proposals aim at reducing in-work poverty, especially through stronger collective bargaining systems and adequate minimum income and pensions are highly commendable,” Alfred Sant said.
In-work poverty is a global issue and counters the idea that employment is the solution to being poor.
Sant added that the rise of low-quality work in the gig economy is worsening the situation for many entering the labour market.
According to Eurostat, people are at risk of in-work poverty if they work for over half a year and their yearly disposable income is below 60% of the median household income level. Around 10% of European workers are at risk of in-work poverty. It is most often young people, minorities, those engaged in temporary work, part-time work and precarious jobs that are at risk of this kind of poverty.
In Malta, 6.5% of people are considering to be in in-work poverty.
The MEP called for the EU-wide issue to be discussed front and centre.
What do you make of Alfred Sant’s comments?
This article is part of a content series called Ewropej. This is a multi-newsroom initiative part-funded by the European Parliament to bring the work of the EP closer to the citizens of Malta and keep them informed about matters that affect their daily lives. This article reflects only the author’s view. The European Parliament is not responsible for any use that may be made of the information it contains.