Malta should increase the minimum wage to a ‘living wage’ of at least €1,000 a month over a five-year period, the Nationalist Party has proposed.
Interviewed on Lovin Daily this week, Shadow Finance Minister Mario de Marco warned that people cannot live a decent life on the current minimum wage, which is just under €800 a month.
“The Labour Party had promised a living wage in 2013, but nine years later and they seem to have done nothing whatsoever to introduce it,” de Marco said. “Do we really believe in giving people a minimum standard of living or not?”
The PN is proposing to increase the minimum wage to a “living wage” of at least €1,000 by 2026-27 following a discussion with stakeholders, echoing a proposal that Joseph Muscat had floated back when he was Opposition Leader.
De Marco played down concerns that introducing a living wage could result in higher unemployment and inflation due to employers compensating for the higher salaries they will be made to pay their staff.
“It won’t necessarily [result in unemployment and inflation], it depends on how much profit you make and the manner of adjustment,” he said.
“But is €800 euro enough for an employee to make ends meet? It clearly isn’t. How many people manage to live with that salary? You can’t, especially with revised rents and higher inflation.”
“Inflation in August exceeded 2% for the first time in several years; it’s not going to increase because of the minimum wage but because of other products. A living wage won’t result in inflation of the products we buy at supermarkets.”
The YMCA had called for the minimum wage to increase to €1,000 back in August, a proposal it said would help solve Malta’s homelessness problem.
Do you agree that the minimum wage should increase to €1,000?