Around 100,000 people are being treated by the government as “second-class workers” after being left out of last night’s financial aid package, the Nationalist Party has warned.
“The Opposition feels the government can and do so much more,” the PN said after the measures were announced by Prime Minister Robert Abela last night.
“A number of workers and professionals won’t be covered by these measures, even though they too are suffering greatly as a result of this economic crisis. There are 164,000 private sector workers but the government has chosen to seriously take care of only 60,000 of them while treating the rest as second-class workers, ignoring them or giving them meaningless aid.”
“Robert Abela is making a huge mistake by ignoring these sectors who were the pillars of Malta’s economic growth.”
The deal will see the government pay €800 to each worker whose industry has been brought to a grinding halt, meaning those currently on the minimum wage will actually see their earnings rise by around €23. Meanwhile, employer associations have agreed that, in the case of employees earning more than €800, employers will pay them a further €400 themselves, bringing their take-home pay up to €1,200.
The PN reiterated its call on the government to reduce utility tariffs, arguing that people are spending more time at home as a result of the COVID-19 crisis and therefore consuming more electricity and water.
It also said it plans to sue Abela for alleged data protection after he told a NET journalist, who asked him about utility tariff reductions last night, that the PN will only be credible if it pays €4 million it owes to the authorities.
“The Opposition feels that the government should reduce electricity and water bills at a time when many people are spending more time at home and therefore consuming more,” the PN said. “Right now, oil has dropped to the lowest price ever in recent years. It is unacceptable for the Prime Minister to respond to this question in an arrogant and partisan manner which is in breach of data protection laws.”
The alleged state of the PN’s finances, including an alleged €4 million in unpaid VAT and utility tariffs, was made public last February by ONE TV anchor Karl Stagno Navarra. The PN refused to comment on whether the quoted figures were true or not, stating the information is sensitive.